In an exclusive interview with NBC 7, Michael Crowe called the defense’s argument that he and his friends, not Richard Tuite, killed his sister 15 years ago a conspiracy theory not unlike Big Foot.
Crowe stood in line to enter the San Diego County Courthouse Thursday as he arrived to testify in the re-trial of the mentally ill transient who is accused of killing 12-year-old Stephanie Crowe in January 1998.
Crowe, who called the courthouse “probably one of my least favorite buildings in the world,” said the trial is unwelcome by most everyone involved with it.
Inside that building, he and his teenage friends Joshua Treadway and Aaron Houser were charged in the killing. When the judge in the case deemed their videotaped confessions as coerced, their charges were later dropped.
Michael Crowe is now a resident of Oregon and the father of one son who is expecting the arrival of a second child.
“Possibly any day now,” Crowe said. “So, hopefully not while I’m down here doing this.”
Richard Tuite’s defense attorney has called Michael Crowe to testify because the defense argues he and his friends were the culprits behind Stephanie’s brutal murder.
Stephanie was found stabbed nine times in the doorway of her bedroom in the Crowe family’s Escondido home on January 21, 1998.
Defense attorney C. Bradley Patton claims his team has uncovered evidence that it took more than one person to commit the crime.
In his opening statement, he shared details from the teenagers’ videotaped interrogations with Escondido police and presented writings from Michael Crowe including a Haiku: “Michael, Loves Black, Sneering, Running, Learning, Black Hearted, Angry, Mad, Sneer, Combat Training, Conquer, Tyrant, Crowe.”
In the courtroom Thursday, Patton painted Crowe as the real killer in the case, arguing that at the time of Stephanie’s murder, Crowe was an angry, hateful teenager who frequently complained to friend about his popular little sister.
“Do you recall telling Josh that you would like to beat your sister?” Patton asked Crowe on the stand.
“I don’t think that I did, but who knows,” answered Crowe.
“Do you recall telling Josh that you would like to lock your sister away for a while in some dungeon and let her think about what she’d done?” Patton continued.
“I don’t think so,” said Crowe.
“Would you characterize yourself as being anti-social?” asked Patton.
“Yeah, I would definitely say that I was more anti-social than most people,” responded Crowe.
“And, it’s true that you did not have very many friends?”
“No, I just had a small handful,” said Crowe.
Patton argued that Crowe had the motive, and the means, to kill Stephanie.
However, the prosecutor claimed the relationship between Crowe and his little sister included nothing more than normal sibling rivalry.
“Did you recognize that you guys were just different people?” the prosecutor asked Crowe.
“Oh, definitely,” said Crowe.
“And she had strengths that you didn’t?” continued the prosecutor. “And you had strengths that she didn’t?”
“Quite a few,” responded Crowe.
On Thursday, Michael Crowe called the defense theory “an argument that comes out of the inability to accept reality.”
“It’s the kind of thing that people who just can’t accept the truth,” he said. “The kind of conspiracy theory… there are conspiracy theories on all sorts of things. Just one more of them, like Sasquatch,” he said.
As for facing Patton’s questions from the witness stand, Crowe said, “It is what it is. He wants to lie and throw a bunch of B.S. on a wall and see what sticks, that’s his job.”
Tuite was convicted in 2004 of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to state prison. Eight years later, a federal appeals court voided Tuite's conviction and ordered a new trial.
The teenagers in the case are now young men. Their interrogations have been featured on a number of national television shows from National Geographic to Oprah.
"So many aspects have just been so surreal," Crowe said of the investigation and trials.
"I don’t even believe that some of the situations that have happened with this case at all. I don’t think you would believe it if it were a work of fiction," he said.