The Alice Crimmins Case
An Out-of-Control Defendant
This trial would become, as writer Ann Jones noted, a snarl of charge and counter-charge. Moreover, the years of her ordeal had taken a toll on Alice Crimmins. She remained a shapely and attractive woman but she had a hunted, hounded look. She also lost control of herself even more often during her second trial than her first.
While prosecutor Thomas Demakos was questioning prospective jurors, he commented, She is presumed to be innocent ... but she is not innocent!
Alice cried out, I am too innocent! You know Im innocent!
The bespectacled and balding Judge George J. Balbach told the prosecutor to avoid making such assertions when he was interviewing potential jurors.
Later, the other prosecutor Vincent Nicolosi said in his opening statement that, on the last evening of their lives, their mother fed them manicotti. Alice said, I did not!
Edmund Crimmins, now divorced from Alice, testified in this trial as he had in the last. While he said nothing that implicated his ex-wife, he stated that he had no feeling for her really.
Once again, Detective Piering testified, recalling the unrecorded dust on the bureau and the vanished manicotti box in the trash as clearly as before. This time, he added something previously unmentioned. He claimed that Alice had told him that during the trip to the gas station, The children were acting up in the back of the car and she swung and hit the girl.
Lyon was instantly on his feet, asking for a mistrial. He pointed out correctly that it is not unusual for parents to use corporal punishment but said that bringing it out in the trial was prejudicial. His motion was denied.
Anthony Grace took the stand and the prosecutor often seemed to be placing Alices beau on trial, repeatedly asking Grace if she had requested any help and if Grace had sent anybody over to that apartment that particular night. Grace denied firmly that he had had anything to do with the childrens deaths.
Detective John Kelly testified that he had had a conversation with Alice Crimmins about possible immunity in her sons death and a good deal on the charges relating to her daughter if she would tell the whole truth. He said that she had told him she would have to talk it over with her lawyer. He also testified that she had complained about many of the prosecutions witnesses lying in her first trial. He recalled retorting, If all those people lied, why didnt I lie? She supposedly had told him, Well maybe the DA couldnt make you lie.
This provoked another Alice outburst: But he did now!
Once again, Sophie Earomirski gave dramatic testimony about the group that she had supposedly seen from her window. Again she was asked to identify the woman. Alice Crimmins, she replied.
Alice Crimmins stood and shouted, It is not! You liar! In Gods name, tell the truth!
The judge gaveled for order and Crimmins continued screaming, You liar! You swore to tell the truth up there! Do you know what the truth is? Youre so sick you dont know how to tell the truth!
Again the judge called for Crimmins to get a grip on herself.
DA Demakos asked Earomirski, Was it Mrs. Crimmins you saw out there that night?
I swear to God, Earomirski replied.
You swear! Crimmins cried. It wasnt me! I didnt do it! You dont know what God is!
The judge declared a recess.