EUGENE, Ore. — The defense has rested in the Robert Cromwell murder trial, and Friday the defendant himself took the stand to testify.
Cromwell took the stand to answer questions about the death of his ex-fiancee, Casey Wright. fian·ée
The courtroom was packed morning with people on both sides of this case, wanting to hear from Cromwell, the only one able to provide an account of what happened the night Wright was killed.
The defense started by getting Cromwell to talk about how he met Wright and the nature of their relationship, which he said unexpectedly soured in mid-October when Wright suggested she should move out of the home they shared together.
Cromwell says during their time apart, they kept in touch and he felt they were in the process of working things out, until that fateful November night when he realized his efforts to win her back were in vain. He discovered a string of text messages with a man she was previously seeing.
“That just destroyed me, to know that right after she had dropped me off, she went to be with him. This was when I think I…I mean, I had lost it by then. I don’t even remember the rest of the messages until I read them here,” Cromwell said.
It was then he testified that he picked up the baseball bat and hit Wright about four times in the head, killing her he believes immediately. And then he attempted to kill himself by cutting his wrists.
“I set the bat down and turned on the light to check on her and saw pooled blood underneath her head. And I tried to wake her up, but nothing was happening. There was absolutely no response, so at that point I grabbed a razor and cut myself,” he said.
When asked about what others called his “unnerving calm” that night, Cromwell said that was “God entering his life.”
In cross examination, prosecutors then asked whether Wright told Cromwell she wanted to get back together or if that was just his perception.
The prosecution had Cromwell read a series of text messages between he and Wright, where Wright repeatedly denied his requests to meet up.
“So as of just a couple of days before you killed her, you were aware that the circumstance was that she was not committing to having a future with you?” DA Erik Hasselman asked. “Yes,” said Cromwell.
The prosecution also produced as evidence the letter Cromwell gave Wright that night, in which he promised to never hurt her again.
The defense then questioned Cromwell once more, illustrating that in other communication with Wright in person and over the phone she’d indicated she wanted to work on their relationship.
The defense then rested its case, and the trial wrapped up for the day.
The trial resumes Tuesday with closing arguments from the prosecution and defense.