Trial set for man accused of killing neighbour, taking baby

A group of demonstrators stand outside in below-freezing temperatures at the Cass County Courthouse in Fargo, N.D., on Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, before a court appearance by a man accused in the killing of 22-year-old Savanna Greywind, of Fargo. The protesters were hoping to draw attention to unsolved killings of indigenous women. Greywind had ties to two Native American tribes in North Dakota. William Hoehn, who appeared Wednesday, and Brooke Crews are charged with conspiracy to commit murder and kidnapping in the death of 22-year-old Savanna Greywind, so they could keep her baby. (AP Photo/Dave Kolpack)

FARGO, N.D. - A judge on Wednesday scheduled a March trial for a North Dakota man accused of killing a pregnant neighbour so he and his girlfriend could keep the baby.

William Hoehn, 32, and his 38-year-old girlfriend, Brooke Crews, have pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and kidnapping in the death of 22-year-old Savanna Greywind, but Crews has a change-of-plea hearing scheduled for Monday.

Relatives of Greywind attended Wednesday's hearing for Hoehn and glared at him after he entered the courtroom handcuffed at the wrists and chained at the ankles. Hoehn looked in their direction but showed no emotion.

Hoehn's attorney, Daniel Borgen, told East Central District Judge Tom Olson that he would be ready for trial in March, but the judge did not set a specific date. Hoehn was not asked to speak.

The Greywind family was ushered into a separate room in the courthouse after the hearing.

Greywind, who lived in Fargo, was eight months pregnant when she disappeared Aug. 19. Kayakers found her body wrapped in plastic and duct tape in the Red River.

Investigators haven't said how Greywind was killed. The baby girl, who survived, was found in Crews and Hoehn's apartment. Greywind's boyfriend, Ashton Matheny, said DNA tests confirmed that he and Greywind are the girl's parents. He now has custody of the baby.

Crews' attorney, Steven Mottinger, said his client does not have a plea agreement with prosecutors, but declined to give further details about next week's hearing.

Crews told police she arranged to have Greywind come to her apartment on Aug. 19 and told her how to induce labour, and that Greywind returned two days later to give her the infant.

Hoehn gave investigators a different account. He said he came home Aug. 19 to find Crews cleaning up blood in their bathroom. He said Crews presented him with the infant and said: "This is our baby. This is our family," according to the criminal complaint.

Emily Anderson (centre) and her two children Rory, 2, and Elise, 4, are pictured at McDonald Park on Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018. Anderson was recently laid off and is currently freelancing from home but still has both her children enrolled in full-time daycare because she is worried she might have to put her name on a long wait list to get them enrolled again if she finds employment.
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