A New York jury issued a guilty verdict for the 24-year-old accused of murdering a pregnant woman and ripping the baby out of her womb, in a case so gruesome the proceedings caused a juror to pass out.
The defendant, Ashleigh Wade, could spend life in prison after she is sentenced on Oct. 20 for the murder of Angelikque Sutton, reports People.
The killing happened in November 2015, when Sutton, who at the time was at least eight months pregnant, stopped by Wade's house on the way to the courthouse, where the victim was going to be married that day, according to the Miami Herald.
Sutton believed she was picking up a wedding gift from Wade, her childhood friend. The two had reconnected on Facebook after losing contact more than 10 years earlier. Sutton reportedly believed that Wade was also pregnant.
What happened next was truly shocking.
"The defendant cut Ms. Sutton's larynx, her voice box," Bronx Assistant District Attorney Meredith Holtzman said in court during the trial, notes People. "Ms. Sutton could not scream, could not say a word ... What the defendant did to her next is almost unspeakable. After she had rendered Ms. Sutton unable to scream, the defendant took a kitchen paring knife and sliced Ms. Sutton’s abdomen open."
The details were so gory that presiding Justice Margaret Clancy made the unusual move to allow prospective jurors to remove themselves from the pool during the jury selection process, reports New York Daily News.
"Once she had cut Ms. Sutton's abdomen open, the defendant cut Ms. Sutton's uterus entirely out," Holtzman added during the trial. "She cut that uterus open, took the baby out, and discarded that uterus on the bathroom floor."
Wade had been posting ultrasound photos and other baby updates to her Facebook for months, but the pregnancy was imaginary. When police officers arrived at the blood-soaked apartment, Wade said she had given birth to the baby, reports New York Post.
She reportedly told the police that Sutton had attacked her, and she was defending herself, but she also said around the same time that she cut the baby girl out to "save" her as her mother lay dying.
Prosecutors displayed photos from the autopsy that showed the victim's detached uterus and umbilical cord, which caused Wade to cry and a juror to faint.
Defense attorneys say that something "went tragically wrong in her own mind" and truly believed that she was pregnant, notes People.
"I sat there thinking about my child that died and thought that I couldn't have any more children die so I rescued the baby," Wade wrote in her confession. "Holding her felt right and I believed that the little girl was mine."
Sources: People (2), Miami Herald, New York Post, New York Daily News / Featured Image: Maarten Van Damme/Flickr / Embedded Images: New York Corrections Department via Miami Herald, Facebook via People