DILLON, Mont. (AP) — A Washington man pleaded guilty Tuesday to murdering his 3-year-old son in a remote Montana field, telling the judge he wanted to take accountability for his actions and "get this over."
Jeremy Brent Cramer, 38, appeared in District Court in Dillon wearing prison stripes and ankle bracelets. He spoke haltingly as he admitted killing his son Broderick on July 8 in a field 5 miles outside the southwestern Montana town of Anaconda.
Cramer told Judge Loren Tucker he decided to change his plea from not guilty because a prison sentence doesn't much matter with his son dead.
"After a few months of thinking about it, I'm taking accountability for it," Cramer told Tucker. "Whether it's eight years or 80 years, my son's not here. I just want to get this over."
Cramer was arrested July 8 after an Anaconda convenience store employee found him washing blood from his clothes in the business's restroom.
Cramer's wife, Nataliya, told police in Lacey, Wash., that her husband had taken their son and had not answered phone calls or text messages.
Investigators found Broderick's beaten and stabbed body the next morning in the field. Beside the body were a knife and two rocks covered with blood and hair. Police found bloody keys and a knife on Cramer when he was arrested.
They also found an empty container for a generic substitute of the stimulant Adderall that had been filled five days earlier, according to court documents.
Cramer's brother, Jon Cramer, told police his brother was a former methamphetamine addict who had been "doctor shopping" for a physician who would provide him with Adderall.
Jeremy Cramer phoned his father after he was arrested and told him in the recorded call that he had run out of gas and had started walking down the rural road with his son on his shoulders, according to prosecutors.
Cramer told his father he killed his son, and he didn't know why, according to a partial transcript provided by prosecutors. He appeared to be confused, as he asked, "Why did I take all my pills? Did I take all my pills?" according to the transcript.
Cramer reached a plea agreement in which prosecutors will recommend a sentence of life in prison with no parole restrictions. County Attorney Ben Krakowka previously said he would not seek the death penalty.
The judge told Cramer that he is not bound by the plea agreement's recommendation, and that a presentencing investigation will be conducted.
A date for the sentencing hearing has not been set.