Suspects in slaying of pregnant North Dakota woman enter not guilty pleas

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Sunday, October 1, 2017

Both suspects in the death of Savanna Greywind have entered not guilty pleas in court in Fargo, North Dakota, United States. On Tuesday, William Hoehn, acting through his lawyer, pled not guilty to counts of conspiracy to commit murder, kidnapping, and giving false information to the police. On Thursday, his girlfriend Brooke Crews did the same, procedurally. Hoehn's next hearing is scheduled for December and Crews' for January.

"At this point, Ms. Crews chose on my advice not to specifically enter a plea. The judge entered a not guilty plea, procedurally to move the case forward," Crews' lawyer, Steven Mottinger, told the press.

Savanna Greywind, 22, whose body was found wrapped in plastic by kayakers in the Red River on August 27, was eight months pregnant when her relatives called the police to report her missing. According to court documents, the police first responded to a call at 2825 9th St. N. #2 in Fargo on August 19, and spoke to the man and woman who lived at #5, Brooke Crews and William Hoehn, but did not execute a search warrant until August 24, at which time they found Brooke with a baby girl. Hoehn would later tell police he had discovered Crews in their bathroom wiping up blood, and she showed him the infant and told him, "This is our baby. This is our family." Crews would tell the police Greywind had given her the baby. Both told police the girl is Greywind's daughter, and a DNA test was performed to confirm the child's identity.

Greywind worked as a nursing assistant at the Eventide Fargo senior center in West Fargo, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. According to her boyfriend, Ashton Matheny, they had planned to name their daughter Haisley Jo, and had recently leased an apartment where they planned to live with their child. Now, Matheny says, he plans to move to the Spirit Lake Reservation northwest of Fargo to raise his daughter near family. He and Greywind both belong to the Spirit Lake Tribe. Ashton and Greywind's parents were permitted to visit the child in the hospital pending confirmation of her identity, and Matheny has since been awarded full custody.

Matheny, in remarks to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, said "I've been waiting to be a father for a while[...] She's the only good thing that came out of this. She looks like Savanna."

Earlier in September, tribal leaders sent an open letter to North Dakota's US congressional delegation with several demands regarding Greywind's case and the violence faced by Native Americans nationwide. Among other things, they asked that the United States Department of Justice establish a cross-jurisdictional task force to establish a clear system for investigating the deaths and disappearances of Native American women.

The tribal leaders' letter reads in part: "During the gatherings and prayers for Savanna, we heard story after story from families who also have women in their families missing or with unsolved murders[...] The murder of Savanna illustrates a much larger problem of epic proportions."


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