A Tulsa County judge ruled the mother of Terence Crutcher’s children was not his wife.
Judge Kurt Glassco ruled Frenchel Johnson was not Crutcher’s common-law wife and named Crutcher’s children as his heirs.
Terence Crutcher was shot and killed by Tulsa Police officer Betty Shelby in September. A different judge ruled last week that Shelby should stand trial for first-degree manslaughter in the case.
Crutcher’s parents are pleased with the judge’s decision – but they did want to be named administrators of the estate, so they didn’t get everything they wanted today.
Crutcher and Johnson were in a 14-year relationship, but the judge says both Crutcher and Johnson listed themselves as “single” on several documents, adding that Johnson received benefits for being “single” that she might have been denied if she had been married.
The judge named Crutcher’s four children to be his heirs and said his step-child was not adopted and will not be an heir.
“We can move forward, the family can move forward, and continue to move forward for justice for Terence and for these children, that’s what’s most important,” said the family’s attorney, Damario Solomon-Simmons. “So we’re very happy, pleased with his decision.”
The judge ordered Austin Bond, a neutral attorney, to continue managing the estate going forward.
In an October probate hearing, Glassco heard two days of testimony from 21 witnesses representing both sides, court records show. Both sides of the dispute agreed that there was never a marriage ceremony or certificate, so the judge was to decide whether the terms for a common-law marriage in Oklahoma were met.
In order to have a common law marriage in Oklahoma, the two people must mutually agree they are married, share a common residence and show publicly they are married