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Osage killer’s sentence upheld by Supreme Court

This news story was published on April 21, 2018.
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DES MOINES – The 50-year prison sentence of former Osage resident Noah Crooks has been upheld by the Iowa Supreme Court, after he killed his mother back in 2012 as a 13-year-old.

According to court documents:

On the evening of March 24, 2012, Noah Crooks was at home with his mother, Gretchen Crooks. Noah was thirteen years old and an eighth grader at Osage Middle School. He had no prior criminal record. The Crooks lived in rural Osage, in Mitchell County. Gretchen worked as a nurse at Mercy Hospital in Mason City and was studying to get her master’s degree at the University of Iowa. Noah’s father, William Crooks, worked at Cargill Kitchen Solutions in MasonCity. William and Gretchen had been married for seventeen years.

William was at a work-related party away from home that evening when Noah loaded a .22 caliber rifle upstairs. Noah took the loaded rifle downstairs and saw his mother in the kitchen facing away from him. She was making dinner for him. Noah later told a child psychiatrist that he could not shoot her at that moment because it would not be honorable to shoot his mother in the back. Noah returned upstairs until his mother called up to say his dinner was ready. He returned downstairs with the rifle and this time found his mother sitting on the living room sofa studying her coursework. Noah shot her twenty-two times, killing her.

Noah sent his dad a text message at 7:30 p.m. The message stated, “Dad, this is Noah. I killed Mom accidentally. I regret it. Come home now please.” William thought Noah was joking and replied, “Okay. Just throw her in the grove. We will take care of her later.”

Noah called 911 and told the Mitchell County dispatcher, Barbara Michael, “I killed my mom with my twenty-two.” He admitted he “shot her . . . with twenty rounds maybe.” Noah also said, “I, I tried to rape her. . . . I didn’t do it. I tried to rape her, I couldn’t do it.” Noah talked to the dispatcher about his concerns over his own future, stating, I’m never gonna be able to marry. . . . I’m never gonna get, be able to get a good job now, ‘cause it’ll be on my resume. . . . I mean, I’ll barely be able to get a job like McDonald’s. I mean I had plans of going to Michigan State University to get an engineering job, making my own car company. That’s all down the drain now.

Deputy Jeff Huftalin was dispatched to the Crooks’s residence and knocked on the front door. Noah answered the door while he was still on the phone with the dispatcher. Deputy Huftalin asked Noah where his mother was. Noah told him she was in the living room and that the gun was on a chair. Deputy Huftalin asked Noah to sit on the porch while he entered the house. Deputy Huftalin found Gretchen slouched on the couch; he could see bullet holes in her chest. Gretchen’s pajama top was unbuttoned, and she was naked from the waist down. Deputy Huftalin confirmed that Gretchen was dead. He handcuffed Noah and put him in the backseat of the patrol car.

Deputy Huftalin called William to tell him there had been an accident in his house and that he needed to come home. Upon arrival, William was told that Gretchen was dead and that Noah had shot her.

The State filed a delinquency petition four days later, alleging that Crooks, age thirteen, committed the delinquent acts of first-degree murder and assault with the intent to commit sexual abuse. The State requested that the juvenile court waive jurisdiction so that Crooks could be tried as a youthful offender in adult court. The juvenile court waived jurisdiction over Crooks and transferred the case to the district court for Noah’s prosecution as a youthful offender.

The State filed a trial information in district court, alleging murder in the first degree and assault with intent to commit sexual abuse. The jury trial began on April 30, 2013. Crooks raised the defenses of insanity and diminished responsibility. On May 13, the jury returned a verdict finding him guilty of murder in the second degree and not guilty of assault with the intent to commit sexual abuse.

The district court sentenced Crooks to an indeterminate term of incarceration not to exceed fifty years without any mandatory minimum sentence.   Crooks was therefore immediately eligible for parole.

Crooks appealed.  In a split decision, the Iowa Supreme Court ruled that the district court acted within its discretion by imposing an indeterminate sentence of incarceration not to exceed fifty years, with immediate eligibility for parole and no mandatory minimum term.


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4 Responses to Osage killer’s sentence upheld by Supreme Court

  1. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    May 21, 2018 at 10:36 am

    He should be denutted and forced to do hard labor all his life ruined my county no murder for over 100 yrs till he come along

  2. Avatar

    mint Reply Report comment

    April 22, 2018 at 1:22 am

    Needs to be a case study, what drove the behavior, how would a youngster even think of doing such a horrible act, how was he raised, was he emotional, physically or ever sexually abused, what t.v. programs, books, video games did he watch/play, why was there such hatred towards the mom, questions that may unravel the mind that committed such actions, surely one of the worst cases ever known to man, very sad prayers to they’re family. my view.

  3. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 21, 2018 at 3:17 pm

    Lock him up and throw away the key!

  4. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 21, 2018 at 12:22 pm

    This kid should never get out ever. You can’t fix something this evil. Huge mistake !