William Crooks thought his teenage son’s “I killed Mom accidentally” text was a joke, but the truth behind the message was far more horrifying than he could have imagined.
While on the phone with a 911 operator on March 24, 2012, 14-year-old Noah Crooks admitted to shooting his mother more than 20 times and trying to rape her. Noah also sent a text to his father, which read: “Dad this is Noah. I killed Mom accidentally. I regret it. Come home now please.”
In the 911 call, Noah said that his mother had taken away his Call of Duty game.
William Crooks, 41, testified on Friday that he thought the text message was a joke. At the time of his wife’s murder, he was away from the family’s home and texted his son back: “OK. Just throw her in the grove. We’ll take care of her later.”
Noah allegedly killed his mother, 37-year-old Gretchen Crooks, with a .22-caliber rifle that she had purchased for him in 2010. William testified on Friday that he had been teaching Noah how to handle guns appropriately.
William said that his wife and son had a loving relationship but one that was sometimes fraught with conflict.
In court, prosecutors played part of the 10-minute 911 call Noah placed. “I’m not joking at all. She’s dead. I’m scared. I killed my mom with my .22. I don’t know why I did it,” he told the dispatcher.
“I feel crazy and I know I’m not. I think I have some form of ADD,” He also said during the call. “I tried to rape her. I tried to rape her but I couldn’t do it.”
He continually rambled on and told the 911 dispatcher that his weapon was empty.
“I just wish it was a dream so I could wake up and I could kiss her and hug her,” he said.
Law enforcement officials said on Wednesday that they found Gretchen naked from the waist down and stretched out on a sofa. Her pajama top was open, and she had bullet wounds in her torso. The state medical examiner confirmed that she had been shot 22 times: twice in the head, four times in the neck, and 15 times in the chest.
Classmates said that Noah’s attitude was sometimes violent and aggressive and that he had attempted to stab peers with pencils. He had also allegedly threatened to kill other students and his mother.
Noah Crooks is being tried as a juvenile offender.
[Image via: Brian A Jackson, Shutterstock.com]