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Hoehn to challenge dangerous offender ruling in appeal of life sentence in baby-snatching case

Cass County District Judge Tom Olson ruled Oct. 29 that William Hoehn, seen here, is a dangerous offender, which enhanced Hoehn’s maximum potential sentence to life in prison. Hoehn was ordered to spend life in prison with the chance of parole for his involvement in the kidnapping of Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind’s baby. Forum file photo

FARGO — William Hoehn's attorney has filed papers in Cass County District Court indicating Hoehn plans to appeal the life sentence he received for helping kidnap the child of Savanna LaFontaine-Greywind by challenging a judge's finding that he's a dangerous offender.

In October, a jury found Hoehn, 33, not guilty of conspiracy to commit murder in the death of LaFontaine-Greywind, whose body was discovered in the Red River in August 2017.

Hoehn's former girlfriend, Brooke Crews, pleaded guilty late in 2017 to charges of conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to commit kidnapping. Crews testified that she performed a cesarean section on LaFontaine-Greywind after the two fought and LaFontaine-Greywind hit her head on a bathroom sink, knocking her out.

Testimony from medical experts appeared to contradict that story, as an autopsy revealed no signs of trauma to LaFontaine-Greywind's head. Crews is now serving a sentence of life in prison without the chance of parole.

While a jury in October found Hoehn not guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, Hoehn had pleaded guilty earlier to a charge of conspiracy to commit kidnapping for helping Crews cover up LaFontaine-Greywind's death and hiding her newborn baby, who survived the ordeal of her birth and is now being cared for by her father and other relatives.

Hoehn was sentenced in late October on the conspiracy to commit kidnapping charge, which typically carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. However, during the sentencing hearing, prosecutors asked Judge Tom Olson to declare Hoehn a dangerous offender, a status that would lift Hoehn's maximum potential sentence to life in prison.

In arguing for the dangerous offender finding, the prosecution cited a prior child abuse conviction for Hoehn out of Grand Forks County, N.D.

That case — which involved injuries to Hoehn's infant son that included a fractured skull — began as a felony case, but it was resolved as a misdemeanor when Hoehn pleaded guilty, a point that Hoehn's attorney focused on during Hoehn's sentencing on the kidnapping conspiracy charge.

Prosecutors, on the other hand, emphasized the skull fracture the child suffered in the Grand Forks case, in making the argument for a dangerous offender finding.

Judge Olson agreed with prosecutors and, after finding Hoehn to be a dangerous offender, sentenced him to life in prison with the possibility of parole.

Court papers indicate officials are in the process of determining Hoehn's life expectancy in order to determine when he will be eligible for parole.

Dave Olson
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