Second trial for Nicole Beecroft scheduled to begin next week

The second trial for an Oakdale woman accused of killing her newborn baby is scheduled to begin next week.

Nicole Beecroft, 24, was a 17-year-old senior at Tartan High School when she was accused of secretly giving birth to a baby girl at her mother’s Oakdale home in April 2007, then stabbing the baby to death, more than 100 times, before placing the infant’s body in a trash can outside.

During her initial trial, Beecroft’s defense team argued that the baby died before being stabbed, but prosecutors and ultimately the trial court judge disagreed. Beecroft was convicted of first-degree premeditated murder in 2008, and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

The Minnesota Supreme Court reversed Beecroft’s murder conviction in May of 2012 due to questions about whether medical examiners were pressured not to testify as witnesses for her defense. Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom was disciplined after he sent emails to a medical examiner and her boss, the Dakota County medical examiner, requesting that staff from her office not testify for the defense. The Dakota County medical examiner said she feared she’d be fired after receiving the emails, and the medical examiner who’d been working for Beecroft’s defense team immediately discontinued her involvement in the case.

The Washington County Attorney’s Office has again charged Beecroft with first-degree murder.

Beecroft’s case was reassigned to Washington County District Court Judge John Hoffman after her defense team was granted a request to have the original trial court judge disqualified. Her trial is scheduled to begin July 15.

— Alex Holmquist

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