Nearly a year after the vicious attack that killed Michelle Wilkins' unborn baby Aurora and left her within inches of her own life, Wilkins stood before a crowd of media, reading an emotion-filled statement in response to the guilty verdict of her attacker.
Wilkins thanked people who had come into her life since the March 2015 attack in the attacker's Longmont home, including the prosecution team, the first responders, the 911 dispatcher who took her call and the media.
Dynel Lane beat and stabbed Wilkins and used two kitchen knives to remove Wilkins' unborn baby girl Aurora in Lane's Longmont home.
"There is nothing -- in any way, shape or form -- that can prepare you for something like this," Wilkins said. "What has dominated my perspective consistently is disbelief, and words are not sufficient to describe it, though I may try. It had just never entered my world view that someone could be so cruel and value life so little."
Wilkins decided during her statement to respond to the question she gets often: How she feels about Lane.
"Early on, I have said I have forgiven her," Wilkins said. "It's part of who I am as a human being, and Martin Luther King said it brilliantly: 'We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.' So, no, I do not hate Dynel [Lane,] but I am angry for all the pain she has caused, the deceit and her selfishness. And this element is hardly fathomable for me."
Wilkins expressed gratitude that Lane has to answer to the state of Colorado for the heinous crime she committed. She hoped Lane had time to reflect on what she did and why she did it and to find inner peace. Wilkins said her spirituality has pulled her through these dark times, but she insisted her faith did not make her recovery easy.
"How confusing is it that life can seemingly be so cruel and so beautiful at the same time?" Wilkins asked.
Wilkins said it's important to be vulnerable during this time of recovery, quoting Brené Brown.
Wilkins said her goals for her future have not changed. She still hopes to help people heal, to support a community for growing organic food and supporting art -- especially her pottery.
Wilkins recovered and testified during the trial on Feb. 17. Her baby, whom she was planning to name Aurora, didn't survive.
"[Testifying] was probably the hardest part of the whole court process," Wilkins said.
On Tuesday, a Boulder County jury found Lane guilty on all counts, including attempted first-degree murder, assault and unlawful termination of a pregnancy. The jury only deliberated one full day.
Wilkins said she expected some sense of personal triumph when she heard the verdict read, but it ended up being more than that.
"As the verdict was read, it felt much bigger than just myself," Wilkins said. "It felt like a triumph for justice, for Aurora, for myself, also, but for the community and it was a lot more emotional than I thought it would be."