Beecroft hearing scheduled for Nov. 15

Nicole Beecroft

A status hearing for Nicole Beecroft, 24, has been set for Tuesday, Nov. 15, at 9 a.m. at the Washington County Courthouse. At the end of September Beecroft was found guilty of second-degree murder in the stabbing death of her newborn.

Washington County attorney Pete Orput has said prosecutors “appreciated” the time and effort Washington County Chief Judge John Hoffman put into writing the 55-page verdict. Orput said he plans to seek a departure from state sentencing guidelines for “aggravating factors” including the newborn girl’s vulnerability and that Beecroft treated the infant with “particular cruelty.”

“There were many options available for this young lady, but she didn’t accept that and ended up stabbing her newborn 135 times,” Orput said.

The Tartan High School student was 17 at the time and had been hiding the pregnancy from family and friends.

Beecroft was initially tried as an adult and found guilty of first-degree premeditated murder after she gave birth alone in the basement of her mother’s Oakdale home in April 2007. She received a mandatory life sentence without possibility of parole in 2008.

The Minnesota Supreme Court reversed that conviction last year after questions were raised as to whether medical examiners had been pressured not to testify in her defense.

The retrial began earlier this summer in Washington County district court. Beecroft waved her right to have a jury trial, opting instead for a bench trial.

Also last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that mandatory life-without-parole sentences for those age 17 and younger were unconstitutional, as they ran counter to protections against cruel and unusual punishment.

Beecroft will be given credit for the six years she has served since she was arrested in 2007. She is incarcerated at the state correctional facility for women in Shakopee.

- Johanna Holub

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