The New York woman who cut a baby from her soon-to-be-wedded pregnant friend’s stomach was found guilty of murder and will spend the rest of her life behind bars.
Ashleigh Wade, 24, of Bronx, New York was delivered the verdict – that took less than five hours – on Thursday and began sobbing uncontrollably.
The parents of victim Angelikque Sutton, 22, embraced as Wade cried.
‘Justice prevailed,’ said mother Deborah Sutton, according to the New York Post.
‘The truth was revealed. My daughter was avenged with victory.’
It was a sentiment shared by the victim’s father, Bishop William Sutton, who added that his daughter ‘was a beautiful girl.’
For two weeks the jury relived the gruesome details surrounding the 2015 day when Wade slit Sutton’s throat and cut the baby out of her stomach – stabbing her more than 50 times.
She had been lying to people that she was pregnant and asserted that the girl – named Jenansis by relatives and still alive – was hers.
Juror number seven, a middle aged woman, passed out cold on Thursday in a Bronx courtroom during the trial due to grisly crime scene photos.
Medical examiner Declan Mcguone was displaying an enlarged photo of Sutton’s discarded uterus and umbilical cord on a large-screen TV just feet away from the jury box when the juror was overcome, the New York Daily News reported.
The judge cleared the gallery as Mcguone used his medical expertise to evaluate the woman, who passed out around 3.10pm.
After a 45-minute recess, Justice Margaret Clancy announced that the woman had recovered, but adjourned the trial until Friday.
During jury selection, Clancy had given jurors the unusual option of opting out of serving due to the extremely gruesome nature of the case.
In November 2015, Sutton, 22, was nearly nine months pregnant and on her way to the courthouse to marry Patrick Bradley when she stopped by the Bronx home of her friend, the defendant Wade.
But Wade, who unsuspectingly lured Sutton to the apartment by promising her a gift, had other plans for Sutton, prosecutors said.
Wade allegedly cut Sutton’s throat, preventing her from screaming before cutting her baby girl from her womb.
Wade had feigned pregnancy in the months prior to the horrific murder and needed her friend’s baby to perpetuate the lie, Assistant Bronx DA Meredith Holtzman said earlier in the trial.
‘The defendant attacked Ms. Sutton by stabbing and slashing her repeatedly in the face and neck,’ Holtzman said.
‘The defendant cut Ms. Sutton’s larynx — her voice box. Ms. Sutton could not scream, could not say a word. She cut her major blood vessels.
‘What the defendant did to her next is almost unspeakable.
‘Because after she had rendered Ms. Sutton unable to scream, unable to move, the defendant took a kitchen paring knife and sliced Ms. Sutton’s abdomen open at the bottom half.
‘Once she had cut Ms. Sutton’s abdomen open, the defendant cut Ms. Sutton’s uterus entirely out. She cut that uterus open, took baby Jenasis out, and discarded that uterus on the bathroom floor.’
Amazingly, Sutton’s daughter survived the vicious attack and is now a thriving 22-month-old.
Holtzman said Wade had carefully planned for the attack and theft of the baby.
‘She had baby clothes, baby shoes, diapers, formula, a crib, everything that an expectant mother would need, except a baby.
‘She didn’t have a baby. For that she needed Angelikque Sutton.’
Wade’s defense attorney, Amy Attias, said that her client did not ‘intentionally’ kill Sutton and that ‘something could have gone horribly and terribly and tragically wrong within Ms. Wade’s own mind.’
Wade was found by her boyfriend cradling Jenasis next to the dead mother’s body.
She also screamed at police ‘It’s my baby!’ as they took her into custody.
NYPD office Jonathan Polanco Ortiz who had arrived to the crime scene in 2015 testified on Monday that it ‘left a mark on his soul.’
Ortiz said that Wade confessed to the grisly murder when she saw police.
When asked how many times she knifed Sutton, Ortiz said Wade responded, ‘As many times as I could.’
Sutton’s husband-to-be and father of her child, Patrick Bradley, has attended the trial and listened to the horrific details in court.