New trial begins for woman accused of killing her newborn

10:14 PM, Jul 15, 2013   |    comments
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Nicole Beecroft

STILLWATER, Minn. - A new trial is underway for an Oakdale woman accused of killing her newborn daughter in 2007.

Nicole Beecroft was tried and convicted in 2008 of first degree murder, for the stabbing death of the baby she gave birth to in her family's basement laundry room.

Beecroft had served four years of a life sentence when the Minnesota Supreme Court granted her a new trial, after finding that she had been deprived of her Constitutional right to due process in her original trial.

The high court cited efforts by the prosecutor in neighboring county to prevent a forensic pathologist from testifying for the defense. Dakota County Attorney Jim Backstrom was later reprimanded for pressuring the supervisor of that witness, who withdrew from the case.

Much of Monday's testimony recapped what police officers and BCA agents found at her family's home in Oakdale in April of 2007, after receiving an anonymous tip that the Beecroft had given birth to a stillborn baby and put it in the trash.

They discovered Beecroft's newborn baby girl wrapped in a blood stained towel, inside a grocery sack, inside a plastic trash bag in a garbage bin.

The infant had multiple puncture wounds to her chest. After the baby and the bags were taken to the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's lab, a knife was found inside one of the bags.

Beecroft's defense team will try to establish that the infant had died of natural causes before she was stabbed, so much of the trial will center on competing interpretations of the baby's autopsy.

Beecroft, as she did in her original trial, waived her right to have her case heard by a jury. Washington County District Judge John Hoffman will hear the case and decide whether the teen intended to kill a living person.

Original Police Interview

Beecroft, who was 17 when she gave birth to the girl, told police she disposed of the baby's body because she didn't want her mother to find out about her pregnancy.

In court Monday prosecutors played an audio recording of the original police interview Nicole Beecroft and her mother Kari granted to Oakdale Police Dept. investigators.

When pressed by police about why she didn't call 9-1-1 or try to revive the baby, Nicole Beecroft said, "It wasn't breathing. I was waiting for it to cry, and it never cried. It wasn't moving."

In the same interview, Kari Beecroft, scolded her daughter for referring to the baby as 'it" instead of "she" in her responses to the officers.

Kari Beecroft, who died in June, can also be heard criticizing the teen for throwing the baby's body in the trash.

"How could you do that? Even a dog deserves better. You wouldn't do that to a dog!" Kari could be heard telling the girl during the police interview.

Beecroft's attorneys say the 17-year-old responded to the situation in that manner because she was in shock about her baby's birth.  

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