CLARION, Iowa ---Testimony in the Noah Crooks trial will resume at 9 a.m. Friday in the Wright County Courthouse after the proceedings were canceled Thursday due to the snowstorm.

Crooks, 14, is accused of first-degree murder and assault with intent to commit sexual abuse in the March 24, 2012, death of his mother Gretchen, 37, at the family’s Osage home.

On Wednesday, the prosecution called Mitchell County sheriff’s deputies Jeff Huftalin and Greg Halbach who were the first law enforcement officers on the scene the night of the murder.

Huftalin said he went up on the porch of the home at 3599 Cameo Ave. and knocked on the door.

Noah answered. Huftalin asked him to come out and sit on the porch steps.

He went into the home and checked on Gretchen Crooks. She was not breathing.

Huftalin went out and handcuffed Noah and placed him in his patrol vehicle.

Halbach testified about Noah’s demeanor.

“He wasn’t crying or anything like that. He was just sitting on the steps patiently waiting,” Halbach said.

He found the alleged murder weapon, a .22-caliber rifle, lying across a chair in the dining room.

Halbach identified the alleged murder weapon in court Wednesday.

Noah has been in court throughout the proceedings. He has been sitting quietly.

Noah didn’t look at pictures of his mother and the family’s home when they were introduced into evidence Wednesday.

Noah’s attorney William Kutmus, Des Moines, said his client suffered from a “tumor of rage” that crowded out all other thoughts in his brain.

He said Noah didn’t appreciate the consequences of his actions.

The trial which was moved to Wright County on a change of venue is expected to last two weeks.


CLARION, Iowa -- A Wright County jury heard 14-year-old Noah Crooks admit to shooting his mother more than 20 times and trying to rape her, as testimony in the teen's murder trial got under way Wednesday afternoon.

Crooks is charged with first-degree murder and assault with intent to commit sexual abuse in the death of his mother Gretchen, 37, at the family's Osage home.

The prosecution began its case by playing a recording of a 911 call Crooks made on the night of March 24, 2012, to the Mitchell County Sheriff's Office.

“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 dispatcher Barb Michael with the Mitchell County Sheriff’s Office.

He repeated that several times in the course of the 10-minute conversation.

“I feel crazy and I know I’m not. I think I have some form of ADD,” Crooks said during the call.

“I tried to rape her. I tried to rape her but I couldn’t do it.”

He rambles on for several minutes as the dispatcher contacts deputies and dispatches an ambulance.

“Tell them my weapon is empty. I just wish it was a dream so I could wake up and I could kiss her and hug her.”

He said his mother made homemade donuts for him that night and he can’t believe he killed her after she did that for him.

Crooks continues talking about playing the violent video game, “Call of Duty.” He tells the dispatcher his mother took away the game because he got some bad grades.

“Something just came over me,” he said.

“I’m going to have to move away. I’m never going to be able to get a good job now.”

He spends several more minutes talking about how he will never be able to marry his eighth-grade girlfriend or get into a good college.

“That goes down the drain now. I’m going to have to move. I am going to go to jail.

“I tried rape my own mom. Who tries to rape their own mom? My life is down the drain now.”

The dispatcher tells him deputies are on the way.

“They’re not going to shoot me or (expletive deleted) are they?” he asks.

Mitchell County deputies Jeff Huftalin and Greg Halbach testified about finding the victim stretched out on a corner of a sectional sofa. Her torso was riddled with bullets. Her pajama top was opened and she was nude from the waist down.

In his opening statement, defense attorney William Kutmus said a child psychiatrist will testify that Crooks suffers from intermittent explosive disorder, a behavioral disorder characterized by repeated episodes of impulsive, aggressive or violent behavior.

Kutmus said about three hours before the murder Gretchen Crooks had taken away the video game controller from Noah possibly sparking the shooting.

Testimony will resume at 9 a.m. Thursday in Wright County District Court in Clarion.


CLARION, Iowa --- Jury selection is almost complete in the murder trial of 14-year-old Noah Crooks in Wright County District Court.

Crooks is charged with first-degree murder and assault with intent to commit sexual abuse in the March 24, 2012, death of his mother Gretchen, 37, at the family's rural Osage home.

Crooks is being tried in Wright County on a change of venue.

Opening arguments are expected to begin late this morning or early afternoon.

The case is being heard before District Judge James Drew.

The trial is expected to last abut two weeks.


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