HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A Washington state man told his father during a jailhouse phone call that he killed his 3-year-old son after taking pills and running out of gas on a remote road in southwestern Montana, prosecutors said in new court documents.
Excerpts from the transcript of the call recorded the morning after Jeremy Cramer’s arrest depict the 38-year-old Lacey man as rambling and sometimes incoherent, but he repeatedly refutes his father’s hopes that Brody Cramer may still be alive.
Cramer told his father that he started walking down the road, with Brody on his shoulders, after running out of gas. The boy became “like some other kid when he was on my neck,” then he remembered looking at his son’s face and “I just died right there,” Cramer said, according to the transcript.
“I killed my own son and I don’t know why,” Cramer said. “The thing was, it wasn’t like I had a few beers or it was like something was up inside. Why did I take all my pills? Did I take all my pills?”
The charging documents and affidavit were filed Friday by Anaconda-Deer Lodge County Attorney Ben Krakowka. They provide the most details released to date on what happened between the morning of July 8, when Cramer’s wife reported him and his son missing, and late that night, when Cramer was arrested in an Anaconda gas station washing blood off his clothes and body.
Cramer has been charged with deliberate homicide. His court-appointed attorney did not return a call for comment on Monday.
If convicted, Cramer could face death or life in prison. Krakowka did not return a call for comment on whether he will pursue the death penalty.
Brody Cramer’s beaten and stabbed body was found in a field the morning of July 9. Investigators found a knife and two rocks covered with blood and hair next to the body, along with a blanket and a global-positioning satellite unit, according to the court documents.
Police found bloody keys and a knife on Jeremy Cramer, along with an empty container for a generic substitute of the drug Adderall. The container for the stimulant said the prescription was filled July 3 with 60 pills, and only two pills were supposed to be taken per day.
Cramer’s brother, Jon Cramer, told police that his brother was a former methamphetamine addict who had been “doctor shopping” in Washington state for a physician who would provide him with Adderall.
Nataliya Cramer reported to Lacey police on July 8 that her husband had not responded to numerous phone calls and text messages. Jeremy Cramer’s credit card was used that day in Post Falls, Idaho, and that night, a security company noted Cramer’s truck parked near a power plant east of Anaconda.
Austin Howell told police Cramer offered him and Trenton Zolman first $50, then $100, for a ride into town, saying he had run out of gas.
They gave Cramer a ride and asked about the blood on his pants, shirt and tie, to which Cramer responded, “I had a traumatic experience and no one is dead,” according to the documents.
When they arrived at a gas station, Howell went inside and warned the clerk “there was something off about this guy,” the documents said. Outside, Cramer held Zolman’s hand, saying, “You are clean,” prayed and then went inside to the bathroom.
The clerk called police, and an officer found Cramer in the restroom with his pants off attempting to wash away the blood. He told the officer that he had broken up a fight at a rest area.
He was arrested when he refused to put his clothes back on.
Cramer’s wife confirmed her husband’s identity and asked police to “find my son.”
Cramer refused to provide information about his son or the location of his truck. Cramer, a Mormon, asked to speak to somebody high in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, saying “the adversary,” or devil, “is out.”
The church president for southwestern Montana spoke with Cramer for an hour, but Cramer did not reveal the boy’s location.
At 5:27 a.m., Cramer called his father from the jailhouse near a sign that says all calls are recorded. He also asked an officer whether phone calls are recorded, the documents said.
His father suggested over and over that Brody may still be alive.
“Dad, Brody’s dead,” Cramer said.
“Are you sure?” his father responded.
“My son is dead, 100 percent, my son is dead, yes I did it, something did it of me but I didn’t do it,” Cramer answered.
“He could be laying in a field still alive,” his father said a moment later.
“Dad, he’s dead, dead, dead, dead because I know he is. I just know it. I see a vivid picture of him looking at him before ahhh. He’s dead, OK,” Cramer said.
Investigators found Brody’s body at 6:15 a.m. in a field off Mill Creek Road, about 5 miles southeast of Anaconda. The cause of death was sharp- and blunt-force injuries, according to an autopsy.
Cramer told investigators that morning as they were trying to read him his rights, “You gotta understand something. I killed my best friend.”
The officer told him to quit talking until he was advised of his rights. The interview ended soon afterward as Cramer said he’d need an attorney, according to the documents.