The North Dakota woman convicted of murdering her pregnant neighbor and snatching the woman’s unborn child testified Tuesday that she committed the crime after facing mounting pressure from her now ex-boyfriend to “produce a baby.”
Brooke Crews was sentenced to life in prison in February for conspiring to murder her neighbor Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind, 22, who was eight months pregnant when she disappeared in August 2017.
The young mom-to-be’s body was found floating in a nearby river eight days later.
In her testimony, Crews, who continually choked back tears, said she’d lied to her live-in boyfriend William Hoehn about being pregnant, and even gave him a fake sonogram and pregnancy test to support her fib.
Crews said their relationship had been on the rocks, and she faked the pregnancy in order to please him.
When Hoehn, who is currently on trial, learned she was lying, Crews said he told her she must “produce a baby,” a demand she took as an ultimatum.
Though the two never “explicitly” discussed killing LaFontaine-Greywind, Crews said she’d heard Hoehn discussing the woman’s pregnancy, and took it to mean that he wanted her child as his own.
She added that Hoehn often spoke of sexual fantasies that involved raping women, and that his talk soon evolved into fantasies about killing women – discussions Crews says she dismissed because he was drunk.
On the day of the murder, Crews invited LaFontaine-Greywind up to her Fargo apartment several floors up under the guise of a sewing project for which she claimed she needed a model.
Crews testified that she lacked the courage to do what she’d intended, so she started an argument with LaFontaine-Greywind that ended with the young woman’s head hitting the bathroom sink, knocking her unconscious.
A medical examiner, however, previously testified that LaFontaine-Greywind’s body showed no signs of a head injury.
As LaFontaine-Greywind floated in and out of consciousness, Crews said, she removed the baby from her womb using a carpenter knife she kept in a desk drawer.
When Hoehn returned from work, Crews was lying with the baby girl as LaFontaine-Greywind lay in the bathroom.
“(Hoehn) came back in his underwear with a rope,” Crews testified. “He put the rope around her neck and he pulled it tight and he said, ‘If she wasn’t done before, she is now.’”
She said the two then cleaned up the bloody mess in the bathroom, wrapped the body in garbage bags and moved LaFontaine-Greywind into a hollowed-out dresser before bringing her out to their Jeep, according to local ABC affiliate WDAZ.
Crews said that when police first searched her apartment the day LaFontaine-Greywind went missing, the woman’s body was in a bathroom closet, and the baby girl was on the bed, covered in blankets.
“I can’t undo what I’ve done. But I can do everything in my power to own up to what I did,” she said.
LaFontaine-Greywind lived in the same building as Crews in a basement apartment she shared with her mother, father and brother.
On the day she vanished, she’d texted her mother and boyfriend that she was headed upstairs to help Crews with a sewing project, prompting suspicion from her mother.
Meanwhile, Hoehn’s co-workers told police that they’d heard him discussing a new baby. Police entered his and Crews’ apartment on a search warrant and found Crews with a newborn baby, which DNA testing later proved was LaFontaine-Greywind’s child.
The baby girl, named Haisley Jo, now lives with her family, including LaFontaine-Greywind’s longterm boyfriend Ashton Matheny.
Hoehn pleaded guilty earlier this month to charges of kidnapping and providing false information to authorities.
Crews pleaded guilty in December to conspiring to murder LaFontaine-Greywind in order to kidnap her unborn child. She was sentenced in February to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Before her guilty plea, Crews previously told cops that LaFontaine-Greywind had given her the baby.