FARGO, N.D. — A woman accused along with her boyfriend of conspiring to kill a Fargo woman and taking her infant pleaded not guilty Thursday during a brief court appearance attended by the victim's friends and family members.
Brooke Crews, 38, of Fargo, showed no emotion while responding to questions from East Central District Judge Frank Racek on whether she understood the proceedings. Her attorney, Steven Mottinger, entered not-guilty pleas on her behalf on charges of conspiracy to commit murder, kidnapping and giving false information to officers.
Crews' boyfriend, William Hoehn, 32, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to the same charges. They were neighbors of 22-year-old Savanna Greywind, who was eight months pregnant when she disappeared last month. Her newborn was found with Crews in the couple's apartment days after Greywind disappeared. Greywind's body was found in the Red River a few days later.
Greywind's mother, Noberta, slumped in her seat and wept when Crews was led into the courtroom in orange jail clothing and bound at the wrist and ankles.
Police have not released further details since Crews and Hoehn were charged, and Cass County prosecutor Birch Burdick did not respond to requests for comment Thursday.
Mottinger said outside the courtroom that he advised Crews not to talk to authorities.
"She has the absolute right not to make any statements to anybody, and that is her choice at the present time," the lawyer said.
The charging document in the case says Crews told police she arranged to have Greywind come to her apartment on Aug. 19 and told her how to induce labor. Crews alleged that Greywind came back two days later to give her the newborn baby.
Hoehn told police a different story, according to the documents. He said he came home Aug. 19 to find Crews cleaning up blood in their bathroom. Hoehn said Crews presented him with an infant baby girl and said: "This is our baby. This is our family."
Racek moved the next hearing from Nov. 29 to Jan. 3 to discuss evidence in the case after Mottinger told the judge he is still waiting to receive material from Burdick's office.
Mottinger said afterward that there are "an awful lot of reports" from numerous law enforcement agencies.
"Obviously we would like to have a chance to thoroughly review that before we make any long-term decisions in terms of how we're going to proceed," he said.