A man accused of helping his girlfriend murder a woman and steal her unborn baby pleaded guilty Tuesday to several charges, including kidnapping, but is still expected to stand trial for murder later this month.
William Hoehn pleaded guilty at the Cass County District Court in North Dakota to kidnapping and providing false information to authorities after the death of Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, 22, according to the Grand Forks Herald.
LaFontaine-Greywind, who was eight months pregnant with a daughter, was killed Aug. 19, 2017 by her neighbor Brooke Crews. Crews, who pleaded guilty to murder in February, has admitted to slicing LaFontaine-Greywind's womb open and ripping the baby out while the victim floated in and out of consciousness before she eventually bled to death. Crews was sentenced to life without parole.
Crews planned to raise the baby as her own with her boyfriend. Hoehn, whose murder trial is expected to begin Sept. 18, told The Forum in an August interview from jail that he arrived home from work to his Fargo apartment and found Crews cleaning up blood from their bathroom.
He later told police she told him "This is our baby, this is our family," according to court records.
He said he was fully convinced Crews was pregnant and had been telling coworkers and neighbors they were expecting a baby.
"I was 100 percent blindsided. I was under the impression we were having a baby," he told The Forum.
He wouldn't say whether or not he helped carry out the kidnapping, killing, or disposing of LaFontaine-Greywind, but told the news organization the first time he found out his girlfriend wasn't pregnant was the night he came home from work and discovered the bloody apartment.
"Maybe I'm a fool for it, but that's what I believed," he said, adding he took bloody towels and shoes from the apartment and threw them in a dumpster.
He has pleaded not guilty to the murder charges.
LaFontaine-Greywind's body was discovered wrapped in plastic in the Red River eight days after she went missing, People reported.
Her daughter, Haisley Jo, was found alive by police with the couple. She now lives with her father, Ashton Matheny.
Crews told The Forum he had not heard his girlfriend talk about the victim before and didn't ever think his girlfriend would do something like that despite having "anger issues."
He said he was "extremely sorry" about what happened the night LaFontaine-Greywind died.
"I do have things I want to say to the family and community," Hoehn told The Forum. "I just can't say them now."
His trial is expected later this month, though his attorney has asked for a change of venue in the trial claiming media coverage may have biased the potential jury.
The defense team surveyed 96 respondents in a jury questionnaire and found only three people had not heard of the case, The Grand Folks Herald reported.
The judge in the case has yet to make a decision about granting the venue change to nearby Burleigh County.
[Photo: The Associated Press/Facebook]