Bail set for teen charged with killing baby

9:41 PM, Apr 13, 2007   |    comments
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Bail is set at $1 million for the Oakdale teenager accused of stabbing her newborn to death. When 17-year-old Nicole Beecroft was arrested this week, she had never been in trouble before. She’s a senior at Tartan High School and works two jobs. She's now in the Washington County jail, charged with what many consider - the unthinkable. Authorities say Beecroft gave birth to a baby girl on Monday in her Oakdale home and then threw the baby in a trash can after she stabbed her more than 130 times. "The medical examiner said that the baby was alive at the time that she was stabbed," Washington County Attorney Doug Johnson said. According to the criminal complaint Beecroft hid her pregnancy from family and friends. No one knew. Not even her mother. Beecroft told police she panicked. So how does it happen? A good kid with her whole life ahead of her is now facing the possibility of a lifetime behind bars for allegedly killing her own child. Dr. Marjorie Hogan is a pediatrician at Hennepin County Medical Center. She works with adolescents and in the field of child abuse. Hogan says we may never know what motivated Nicole Beecroft, but part of it might be explained physically. Hogan says teenagers' brains are still developing and it affects they way they think. Related story about the development of teen brains. "Adolescents aren't future oriented. It's part of that brain development. It's what's right in front of me that I don't think about the ramifications in the future," Dr. Hogan explained. Most importantly, Hogan said, Beecroft may not have had an adult to turn to, someone she trusted or someone she could talk to before making the one decision that changed so many lives. "When you're confronted with panic, fear and loneliness and lack of support, you don't think it through." Nicole Beecroft is charged with first degree murder. Her family did not want to speak with us after Beecroft’s initial court appearance in Washington County Friday morning. Authorities are again urging young women who may find themselves in the same situation to use Minnesota’s safe haven law which says that anyone can leave a newborn at the hospital - up to 72 hours after birth - no questions asked. At least one woman did just that this week and that baby is now in foster care, awaiting adoption.

By Trisha Volpe, KARE 11 News

(Copyright 2007 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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