William Hoehn of North Dakota has been sentenced to life in prison for conspiring to kidnap a baby that his girlfriend cut from their neighbor's body

By Robyn Merrett
October 30, 2018 12:13 AM

A North Dakota man was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole on Monday for conspiring to kidnap a baby that his girlfriend cut from their neighbor’s womb, Valley News Live reports.

The verdict comes nearly a month after William Hoehn, 33, was acquitted of conspiring with Brooke Crews, 39, to murder 22-year-old Savanna LaFontiane-Greywind and take her unborn child.

Instead, Hoehn pleaded guilty to two lesser charges in the case: kidnapping and providing false information to authorities in their investigation court records show.

In December 2017, Crews pleaded guilty to murdering LaFontaine-Greywind. In February, she was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

LaFontaine-Greywind was eight months pregnant when Crews, her neighbor, lured her to her apartment in the building where they lived on Aug. 19, 2017, court records show.

Credit: David Samson/AP/Shutterstock

Prosecutors said Crews admitted that she fought with the young woman before she cut open her womb and took her unborn baby, local station WDAZ reported.

Crews admitted that she took the baby from LaFontaine-Greywind while the young woman was alive, prosecutors had said in court, Pioneer Press reported.

William Hoehn and Brooke Crews
| Credit: Cass County Sheriff's Office/AP

The baby, Haisley Jo, survived and lives with her father, Ashton Matheny, who had planned to marry LaFontaine-Greywind and build a life with her and their daughter. “Now I’m mom and dad,” he told PEOPLE previously.

Credit: Savanna Lafontaine-Greywind/Facebook

Ahead of Hoehn’s sentencing hearing, LaFontaine-Greywind’s mother begged the jury to think long and hard about their decision.

“My life has been forever changed. As for Savanna’s daughter, this man tried to take her and raise her as his own. He said the days he spent with my granddaughter were the happiest days of his life. How sick is that,” Norberta Greywind said Valley News Live reported.

The court also heard from Hoehn, who said, “Know that I’m ashamed of my actions. I would not and could not act as I did on those days ever again. I’m not a crazed criminal, but I know I acted crazy. From a place of wrong.”

During an interview with The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead in 2017, Hoehn admitted he should have done something to stop the heinous crime. “I should’ve called police that night,” Hoehn told the outlet.

Haisley Jo Matheny, 1 and Ashton MathenyCourtesy of Ashton Matheny
Ashton Matheny and baby Haisley Jo
| Credit: Courtesy Ashton Matheny

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Hoehn said he found Crews cleaning up blood in the bathroom.

Crews, who he says told him she was pregnant, showed him a newborn, saying, “This is our baby, this is our family,” Hoehn told police, according to court records.

He told the outlet that he took bloody shoes and towels from the apartment and threw them in a dumpster.

LaFontaine-Greywind’s body was found eight days later, wrapped in plastic, in the nearby Red River.

While nothing can be done to bring LaFontaine-Greywind back, her memory lives forever. “I think about Savanna every day,” Matheny told PEOPLE.

Haisley Jo Matheny, 1 and Ashton MathenyCourtesy of Ashton Matheny
Haisley Jo
| Credit: Courtesy Ashton Matheny

Matheny also revealed their daughter says “Mama” because she is often shown a photo of her late mother.

When Matheny isn’t taking care of Haisley Jo, he’s going to school at a local college for business administration. He says he is working hard because he wants to be a good role model for his daughter.

“I don’t want her to see me down and weak,” he says. “I just keep moving forward — for me and for her.”

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Haisley Jo and Ashton with child-raising expenses.