Woman pleads guilty in slaying of pregnant Savanna Greywind


A North Dakota woman pleaded guilty Monday in the killing of pregnant neighbor Savanna Greywind, a slaying described by authorities as a "cruel and vicious act of depravity."

Brooke Crews faces life in prison, and will be sentenced next month. The trial of boyfriend William Hoehn, who has pleaded not guilty, is slated for March. Authorities say the couple committed the brutal act so they could keep Greywind's baby.

The 22-year-old Greywind, who lived in Fargo, was eight months pregnant when she disappeared in August, and kayakers eventually found her body in a nearby river, wrapped in plastic. The baby was found alive in the apartment Crews shared with Hoehn and is now in the custody of her father, Ashton Matheny.

"As you're well aware, this is one important step in two cases that are intertwined," Cass County State's Attorney Birch Burdick said outside the Fargo courtroom. "At least our office will be rather circumspect until we've got both cases resolved. Then we can elaborate more fully."

Crews, 38, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit kidnapping and murder and lying to law officers. Hoehn, 32, has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit kidnapping and murder and lying to law officers. Even though they are not facing murder chargers, Burdick said the crimes they are charged with carry the same maximum penalty.

"At the time we charged the case, it seemed like an appropriate charge based upon our then-available evidence," the prosecutor said. "As the case moved forward, we did not see a reason to change the charges. We believe it makes no difference from a sentencing perspective."

Crews did not give details on how Greywind was killed, but Fargo Police Chief Dave Todd has said her death was a "cruel and vicious act of depravity."

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"I'm very happy that at least one of the two that is currently being charged has admitted their part in the crime against Savanna," family friend Janel Herald told the Star Tribune. "Hopefully, she gets the greatest penalty in North Dakota, which is life without the possibility of parole.

"Whether or not that's justice in the eyes of the law, that's the only thing that we here can hope for," Herald told the newspaper. "Nothing can bring Savanna back."

Crews initially said that Greywind gave up her baby, but later admitted to manipulating the victim. Crews told police she arranged to have Greywind come to her apartment and told her how to induce labor. She said that Greywind returned two days later to give her the newborn.

However, Hoehn said he came home on Aug. 19 to find Crews cleaning up blood in their bathroom. He said Crews showed him the infant and said: "This is our baby. This is our family."

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