CONCOURSE, the Bronx — Wednesday saw the sentencing of a woman who had faked her own pregnancy and then, on what would have been the wedding day of a friend who was nearly 9 months pregnant, she killed her friend and cut the baby out of the expectant mother's body.
It's a story so horrible that one of the jurors fainted upon seeing the evidence during trial. Now, murder convict Ashleigh Wade has learned her fate for the 2015 killing and kidnapping, but not without first making a statement of remorse before victim Angelikque Sutton's family.
"I'm so, so sorry," Wade said, tears running down her cheeks so heavily that the court clerk handed her a stack of tissues. "No words can say how sorry I am. I'm sorry for hurting so many people. I wish I knew why."
The now-24-year-old's defense of extreme emotional disturbance had been rejected by the jury, which found her guilty last month of two counts of second-degree murder and one count of kidnapping.
It happened almost exactly two years ago, on Nov. 20, 2015.
That's when Sutton, 22, stopped by Wade's house, ostensibly to pick up a baby gift. It turned out to be a trap that Wade had premeditated. When Sutton dropped by, on her way to her wedding at the Bronx Courthouse, Wade stabbed Sutton 50 times, with the first set of slashes to Sutton's face and neck, slashing her victim's larynx so she couldn't scream.
When it was evident that Sutton could no longer fight back, Wade cut out Sutton's uterus and delivered the baby herself.
Ashleigh Wade had spent the 9 months before the killing faking a pregnancy. She even set up a baby shower registry in her name.
Detectives arrested Wade shortly after the incident, from which the baby survived. The child is now a toddler, named Jenasis, and she was present at Wednesday's sentencing.
"Jenasis is a miracle baby," State Supreme Court Justice Margaret Clancy said.
Clancy called the killing "carefully planned and researched," and said that Wade "studied and planned how to kill and take the baby."
The child, a week shy of her second birthday, is too young to understand what had happened in court. But as both the judge and prosecutor Meredith Holtzman pointed out, Jenasis will always ask questions about her mother, who was a recent graduate of St. John's University and was the daughter of a Protestant church bishop.
"She will inevitably know that the day of her birth will be forever tainted" by the murder which had happened at the very same time, Clancy said.
Noting that, the judge said, she felt compelled to give Wade the maximum sentence.
"I impose a sentence of 25 years to life," Clancy ruled, for each of the murder convictions.
She also sentenced Ashleigh Wade to 15 years in prison for kidnapping, plus five years probation.
The two murder convictions will be served concurrently, but the kidnapping conviction will be consecutive to that 25-year sentence for a total of 40 years.