Though William Hoehn had pleaded guilty to felony charges of conspiring to commit kidnapping and lying to police, a 12-person jury found Hoehn not guilty of a charge of conspiring to murder Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind in August 2017.
Hoehn, 33, along with his ex-girlfriend Brooke Crews, 39, were charged with conspiring to murder the pregnant 22-year-old LaFontaine-Greywind and kidnap her baby.
The case is a grisly one, in which Hoehn and Crews had abducted LaFontaine-Greywind, and claimed that she had fallen and hit her head on the bathroom sink. The pregnant woman then had the baby cut from her womb and had a rope placed around her neck to strangle her. The coroner has since ruled LaFontaine-Greywind’s death was from blood loss or strangulation.
Hoehn’s girlfriend has previously pleaded guilty to her charges and is now serving a life sentence in prison. Hoehn will be sentenced on his charges at a later date. He remains in custody. The maximum sentence on conspiring to kidnap is 20 years, while the lying to police charge is 360 days.
The history of this case involves the initial disappearance of LaFontaine-Greywind, who became missing after being invited by Crews to her apartment under the false guise to help her with a sewing project.
Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind in a photo taken from her Facebook page from May 2015.
When Hoehn and Crews were interviewed by police in the days following LaFontaine-Greywind’s disappearance, they said they had no idea of her whereabouts, but the police later learned Hoehn had talked with co-workers at Walmart about a newborn baby Crews’ had had, and that Hoehn had bought diapers at the store.
Police had issued a search warrant and found LaFontaine-Greywind’s healthy baby at the apartment. LaFontaine-Greywind’s body was found in the Red River.
During the trial, Bryan Grob, an inmate who did time with Hoehn, testified that Hoehn had told him that he cleaned up the blood of LaFontaine-Greywind, wrapped her in trash bags and had put her body in a hollow dresser. Hoehn had also allegedly told Grob he had taken her body out of the apartment on August 20, 2017, but was not involved with conspiracy because LaFontaine-Greywind was already dead when he arrived at the apartment.
As reported in Inforum.com, prosecutor Leah Viste said she will be recommending a sentence toward the high end of the sentencing range and expressed disappointment with the verdict. Viste said conspiracy can be a difficult concept to get across to jurors.
Viste acknowledged Crews — the prosecution’s prime witness and Hoehn’s co-defendant — “obviously” had credibility issues.
Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor and senior correspondent, Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter -@VinceSchilling
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