A woman in North Dakota has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, for the gruesome murder of her 8 month pregnant neighbour last August. 38-year-old Brooke Crews pleaded guilty to murder, conspiracy to commit kidnapping and lying to police officers.
Crews did not plead guilty as part of a deal but hoped that her admission would help her sentencing. Prosecutors said that Crews cut the baby out of heavily pregnant 22-year-old, Savanna Greywind, while the expectant mother lost and regained consciousness. Authorities said she bled to death.
Her disappearance sparked huge searches until her body was discovered wrapped in plastic in a river.
Crew's boyfriend, William Hoehn has pleaded not guilty and is set to face trial in March. Hoehn told authorities that he arrived home to find Crews cleaning blood in their bathroom, saying that he disposed of bloody towels and shoes.
Hoehn said that Crews introduced him to the baby girl and said: "This is our baby. This is our family." The baby was found alive in their apartment and is now with her father, Ashton Matheny.
During the sentencing hearing, Greywind's mother said that she did not feel there was a sentence possible that could be strong enough for Crews' actions, calling them "beyond evil". A local police chief had earlier called it a "cruel and vicious act of depravity".
Crews' defence attorney, Steven Mottinger had asked for the sentence to be life with the possiblity of parole, arguing that Crews' acceptance of responsibilty "has to mean something". Crews herself took the stand to read an apology, saying: "There is no excuse. There is no rationalization. There is nothing."
A new bill named for Greywind is currently making it's way through congress, the Associated Press reported, aiming at protecting Native American women from violence, abduction and human trafficking. Savanna's Act was introduced by Democratic senator Heidi Heitkamp.
Online jail records suggested that Hoehn faces two felony criminal conspiracy charges and a charge of giving false information to law enforcement.