EUGENE, Ore. — A jury has found a Springfield man guilty of murder in the death of his ex-fiancée Tuesday, after less than an hour of deliberations. Last week, Robert Cromwell testified that he killed 26-year-old Casey Wright with a baseball bat because he was so upset.
There was tension in the courtroom as both sides presented their closing arguments on Tuesday; but jurors had to ask themselves: was Cromwell able to control himself on the night of the murder, or was he impaired by an extreme emotional disturbance?
“We hereby find the defendant, Robert Allen Cromwell, on count one murder: guilty of murder,” said Judge Josephine H. Mooney.
The jury also found Cromwell guilty of the unlawful use of a weapon.
“It’s good to know that through the deliberation process that justice is served,” said victim’s family friend Christine Bethel.
Jurors had three options for the murder charge: not guilty, guilty of murder, or guilty of manslaughter by reason of an extreme emotional disturbance.
Defense attorneys said Cromwell found out Wright was text messaging other men before he beat her with a baseball bat. Though Wright had moved out of Cromwell’s residence in October, the defense said Cromwell saw the relationship at a crossroads.
“What he saw on that cell phone crushed him,” said defense attorney John Volmert.
Though Volmert said Cromwell was not asking the jury to forgive him for his actions, Volmert said it should the charge should not be murder.
“It was the result of an extreme emotional disturbance and that means manslaughter,” Volmert said.
The state argued that no ordinary person in Cromwell’s situation would do the same thing by hitting Wright’s head multiple times with an aluminum bat until she died.
“Was he blindsided enough that an ordinary person, hurt by what had happened, would forego homicide?” asked Erik Hasselman, Deputy District Attorney. “That kind of pain, even if severe, is not the type of pain that causes you to lose the capacity to control your actions and avoid killing somebody.”
The murder charge falls under Measure 11, which has a minimum mandatory sentence of 25 years in prison.
Cromwell will be sentenced this Friday. Cromwell’s family didn’t want to speak about the conviction; but, the prosecutor and Wright’s family plan to comment after the sentencing.