Dramatic Day 2 of Common-law Marriage Trial Concludes Without A Decision

By Samantha Vicent Tulsa World 

Common-law marriage: Tiffany Crutcher testified Wednesday that soon after her brother’s funeral, she saw Johnson appear on the news with Smolen using Crutcher’s last name.

She said she had never heard Johnson use his name before Terence Crutcher’s Sept. 16 death and asserted that Johnson “was never his wife,” adding that her brother had two serious relationships with other women after having children with Johnson.

“It was like pouring alcohol on a wound,” Tiffany Crutcher said of seeing Johnson on TV. “We’ve done nothing but show this woman love.”

On cross-examination, Smolen told Tiffany Crutcher that her father, Joey Crutcher, was recorded at Smolen’s law office Sept. 23 saying Johnson, who had been recently released from jail, was his daughter-in-law. In response, Tiffany Crutcher said, “I thought this attorney (Smolen) wanted to get her out of jail, but I didn’t realize they had been recording us.”

Tiffany Crutcher was one of 10 witnesses to testify Wednesday. Both of her parents testified, as did several of Terence Crutcher’s friends, two attorneys who worked with him and Johnson professionally, and an aunt who worked with him in a community choir.

Joey Crutcher faced the lengthiest cross-examination, as Smolen had him read a series of statements made during a deposition that he said showed that Joey Crutcher lied about his representation of Johnson’s status with the familyand his efforts to find the money to get her out of jail.

“Even though you’re a reverend, you lie,” Smolen said. Joey Crutcher, in turn, replied that “sometimes you have to lie when people deceive you, even as a reverend.”

He acknowledged having said he wanted to put Johnson on Crutcher’s death certificate as his wife, as well as asking Smolen about Oklahoma law regarding common-law marriage. He said he asked “out of respect for Frenchel” because she is the mother of three of his son’s children.

In Smolen’s final arguments, he said Johnson and Terence Crutcher were together for 16 years, with that assertion based on the testimony of their closest friends. He noted thatCrutcher did not pay Johnson child support, that the two lived together when neither was incarcerated and that attorneys working with them testified that they represented themselves as a married couple.

Solomon-Simmons, in his closing statement, said there was “absolutely zero evidence” of a mutual agreement on Terence Crutcher and Johnson’s part to hold themselves out as being husband and wife. He maintained that Terence Crutcher had multiple opportunities to say in official documents that he was married or had a relationship but did not.

“No one has said from Terence’s own mouth that he was married to Ms. Johnson,” Solomon-Simmons said.

After the hearing, he said he was glad to have the opportunity to present the Crutcher family’s case in court, but he did not take questions.

If Glassco rules in favor of Johnson’s common-law claim in December, she could have a role in initiating litigation against the city of Tulsa in connection with Crutcher’s shooting.

The judge ordered both sides to submit briefs in support of their arguments relating to a finding of common-law marriage by Nov. 23.

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