Life sentence without parole ordered for woman who took LaFontaine-Greywind's baby
FARGO – One of the two suspects accused of killing 22-year-old Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind while she was eight months pregnant has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Cass County District Judge Frank Racek handed down the sentence Friday afternoon, Feb. 2, to Brooke Lynn Crews, 36, as family and friends of LaFontaine-Greywind filled the courtroom.
“I’m just really, really, really sorry,” Crews said before the sentence. “I wish I could take their pain. I wish I hadn't done this. There is no excuse. There is no rationalization. There is nothing. I know it doesn’t help, but I am sorry.”
During Friday’s sentencing, the prosecution said Crews admitted that LaFontaine-Greywind came to her apartment. There was an argument, according to prosecutors, and LaFontaine-Greywind fell and hit her head. That’s when Crews said she did a cesarean section on the woman, telling attorneys, “I did cut her and then I took her baby out of her,” adding that LaFontaine-Greywind was not dead when she did the C-section.
According to prosecutors, Crews didn't specify when LaFontaine-Greywind died, though she said the woman would briefly come to and then go unconscious again after the C-section. As LaFontaine-Greywind was taking her last breath, prosecutors said, the woman's newborn daughter was taking her first breaths – something they said meant Crews had forfeited her right to breathe free.
Before the sentencing, Attorney Gloria Allred, dressed in a deep purple suit jacket, held written statements for LaFontaine-Greywind’s mother, Norberta Greywind, to read aloud in court.
“I miss her laugh, I miss her so much,” Greywind said between tears. “I heard about people saying the pain of losing a child is like no other pain. I now know that pain. My heart is broken.”
LaFontaine-Greywind’s sister, Kayla Greywind, 19, was the next to speak.
“The crimes against my sister have broken me and I will never be the same,” Greywind said.
She added she hoped Crews would be sentenced to the maximum penalty, although that would never be enough to repay the pain Crews has caused.
Kayla Greywind said her sister did not handle pain well and had been worried about her upcoming labor.
An attorney for LaFontaine-Greywind’s boyfriend and father of the baby, Ashton Matheny, and their daughter, Haisley Jo, came before the court with the 5-month-old baby on her lap. As the attorney told the court how difficult this has been for Matheny, the baby sat quietly, playing with the attorney’s hands and looking curiously around the courtroom.
The attorney said Haisley Jo recently received her Native American name, which translates to “survivor.”
In December, Crews pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, and providing false information to police.
Mottinger said he would not be bringing up his client’s difficult life or past. He said his client would not be offering any excuses for what she did.
“Crews accepts responsibility and has accepted responsibility for quite sometime,” Mottinger said.
Crews, 36, and her boyfriend, William Henry Hoehn, lived upstairs in a Fargo apartment building from LaFontaine-Greywind, who disappeared in August while eight months pregnant. Crews had asked LaFontaine-Greywind to come to her apartment to help model a dress she was sewing.
LaFontaine-Greywind was reported missing later the same day. Her body was found eight days later in the Red River, the victim of what a medical examiner called "homicidal violence." Her baby was found healthy in the possession of Crews during a police raid five days after the woman disappeared.
LaFontaine-Greywind’s boyfriend and the father of the baby, Ashton Matheny, was awarded custody of the girl named Haisley Jo.
Hoehn, 32, has also been charged with conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit kidnapping, and providing false information to police. He has pleaded not guilty to all three charges. His trial is set to begin May 15.