A North Dakota man accused of helping to kill a pregnant woman tightened a rope around her neck after his girlfriend sliced the baby from the victim's womb, a prosecutor said Wednesday.
William Hoehn is charged with conspiracy to commit murder in the death of 22-year-old Savanna Greywind, who was eight months pregnant when she was killed in August 2017.
Brooke Crews, who then lived with Hoehn, pleaded guilty last year in the killing and is serving life in prison without parole. Hoehn has said all along that he didn't know Crews had planned to kill Greywind.
Hoehn initially told police he arrived home Aug. 19 to find Crews cleaning up blood in their bathroom. Hoehn said Crews presented him with an infant girl and said: "This is our baby. This is our family."
Hoehn said he took garbage bags containing bloody shoes and his bloody towels and disposed of them away from the apartment complex.
Defense attorney Daniel Borgen said in his 10-minute opening statement Wednesday that Greywind was already dead when Hoehn entered the bathroom. Hoehn then helped cover up the crime, Borgen said, noting that his client has confessed to that.
"He helped her. He shouldn't have," Borgen said. "He should have immediately called police."
But prosecutor Ryan Younggren said Crews couldn't have subdued Greywind without Hoehn's help. When Hoehn entered the bathroom, Crews told him that she wasn't sure if Greywind was dead, he said.
"He goes and gets a rope, puts it around her neck, pulls it tight and says, 'If she's not dead, she is now,'" Younggren said in a 50-minute presentation Wednesday.
Kayakers found Greywind's body last year, wrapped in plastic and dumped in a river A medical examiner determined Greywind had bled to death.
Greywind's death prompted North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp to introduce Savanna's Act, which aims to improve tribal access to federal crime information databases and create standardized protocols for responding to cases of missing and murdered Native American women. A similar bill has been introduced in the U.S. House.
[Photo: Fargo Police Department]