This is the case of Crow v. Rinehart.
Thank you, Jerome. Good day, everyone.
AUDIENCE: Good day.
Ms. Crow, you have summoned the defendant to court
to prove that her deceased son, JC Turner,
fathered your two-year-old son, Thomas.
You want Thomas to know who his father is,
and you say that Ms. Rinehart has done everything she can
to sabotage your efforts. Is that correct?
Yes, Your Honor.
Ms. Rinehart, you state that Ms. Crow is a liar and a manipulator,
and that the child in question is not your deceased son's baby.
You say Ms. Crow used your son for money when he was alive,
and now is trying to claim him as her son's father
only to get death benefits. Is that correct?
Yes, Your Honor.
Ms. Crow, are you doing this just for the money?
It is more than just the money.
I would like help with my son, yes, of course.
But my son cannot grow up and meet his father,
so he deserves that right to know who his father is
and to know who his family is.
JUDGE LAKE: And up to this point, he doesn't have any real knowledge of his father,
you have not talked to him about his father, or have you?
CROW: I have, um...
JUDGE LAKE: You have.
Actually, when my son was first born
and he was, you know, just a few months old,
I would talk on the phone every day with Jay
and I would put him on speakerphone so his son could hear his voice.
JUDGE LAKE: Okay.
And so, Ms. Rinehart,
you don't believe your son
is Ms. Crow's child's biological father.
For several reasons.
In the time period, the time frame she said she was...
When she told me she was pregnant, it didn't happen that way.
There's no way she could've been just two weeks pregnant
and had a stomach firm as she did.
You say she couldn't have a stomach as firm?
I mean, after two weeks,
you don't have a stomach as firm as that.
And so she had just met your son,
you were meeting her for the first time?
I was... I had met her three times.
That was about the third time I had seen her.
JUDGE LAKE: All right, continue.
Um, looking at that picture... (SNIFFLES)
My son and I had a very tight relationship...
JUDGE LAKE: Yes.
And Jay would tell me everything...
JUDGE LAKE: Mmm-hmm.
...when nobody else was around.
I knew my son inside and out.
(STAMMERING) And I just don't...
As a mother, as a grandmother,
having four babies of my own,
my gut tells me this is not my grandson.
I do not see my son in that...
I don't. I'm sorry, I don't.
JUDGE LAKE: So, Ms. Crow,
can you talk to me about the relationship?
Um, when I first met Jay, we were at a skate park.
I noticed him in the parking lot,
and I called him over to me,
and we had a conversation.
From that conversation, we ended up walking to the store.
We had, you know... Became inseparable.
We, you know, developed, you know, feelings.
And it did happen all too fast.
He did ask me to be his girlfriend,
and we did have unprotected sex as well, so...
There's no doubt in my mind that Jay's the father.
I did not sleep with anybody else in that time,
when I was with him.
To me, there's no other option.
And once, I, you know,
told him about it, he was happy.
He was happy to have a child.
He never denied my son.
And if he was here today, we wouldn't have to be here
because he would willingly do so.
He never said anything rude or disrespectful to me.
He was nice to me.
He was very accepting. He knew this was his child.
Um, we were together every day.
RINEHART: He'd have believed you if you'd told him the sky was purple.
Well, that's your own opinion.
That's your own opinion.
He only had the mental capacity of a 16-year-old.
And this how... Okay, and you know what?
He had feelings.
He was schizophrenic.
He had feelings.
He was schizophrenic, and he had stress seizures.
CROW: And I took care of him.
RINEHART: And my son was very close to his mom.
I didn't leave him for that.
And she could've told him that that was...
She was pregnant, that's his...
That's his baby.
So you're saying he did not have the discernment
to even say, "I don't believe that's my baby"?
I have had eight... Eight grandkids.
And all eight of my grandkids
I've got a baby picture.
And if I take that baby picture,
I could put it up against my daughter,
I could even put it up against my 18-year-old granddaughter.
I could put it up against Jay's brother.
I could put it up against Jay's baby picture...
And we all look like quadruplets.
CROW: I have strong genes.
So, Ms. Crow,
you say your genes are strong as well.
Do you see a resemblance to his dad?
CROW: Okay, my son,
he has a silly sense of humor like Jay,
he likes to dance like Jay,
and, you know, just right there, you can see it.
Like his hair, that is Jay.
And, um, you know,
there are things about him that are a lot like me,
but at the same time, you cannot deny that.
That is... That's his father.
RINEHART: I asked her if she took a pregnancy test, Your Honor.
She told me, "No."
I said, "You didn't take... How do you know you're pregnant?"
"I know my body.
"I know what it feels like."
First of all, your hormone levels
have to build up to even pass a pregnancy test.
Whoo, did you just learn this?
No, I been knew this...
The truth will set you free, you know.
Maybe you'll learn if you actually tell the truth.
Uh, right, okay.
And so you felt like she was being so descriptive
that she was really already pregnant?
RINEHART: Yes, ma'am. Yes, Your Honor.
Like I said, I've had four kids.
I have a bowed left leg.
My daughter has a bowed left leg.
JC was pigeon-toed from birth,
so JC had lived being severely pigeon-toed,
all his life.
And you believe this baby does not have that characteristic,
which furthers your doubt.
To my understanding.
Take me to the point in which the baby was born.
Was JC participating in the birth?
Okay, so, um,
me and JC, at the time,
we were living together.
It was March 2015.
I have decided to no longer go any further in the relationship
because I have two other kids, I'm pregnant,
and he's a grown man.
He's doing what he wants to do, and I can't stop him.
He comes home one night, and he's drunk.
He left the door wide open.
We don't live in the best neighborhood, so...
I... That was the last straw.
I didn't want nothing bad to happen to me or my children,
or him, in my care.
I was gonna send him to you,
but I couldn't get in contact to you,
so I sent him where he felt comfortable,
where he came from, Topeka, Kansas.
You neither wanted or even tried to contact me.
And so when Thomas was born,
did JC accept the baby as his own?
He told everybody that we would come across,
Friends, even people we didn't know, he had conversations with.
"She's pregnant with my baby."
He's really happy, he's excited.
Um, he never denied my child, and he...
I knew for a fact that, you know, he's the father
because I haven't been with anybody else.
I was only with him at that... In that time frame.
He did come when my son was three months old.
He came to see him.
He had me take pictures on his phone, with him and his son,
and after that, you know, we went our separate ways,
and, you know, other things happened,
but I was trying to take care of my family,
you know, and that's what I was doing.
All I know is I saw a picture on Facebook of another man that she...
CROW: My boyfriend.
That's not his father.
He was Jamaican. Does he look half-Jamaican?
And, you know, I lost my father
the same year my son lost his father.
So there's no reason why I would be up here for no reason.
I'm doing this for my son.
My son has the right to know,
and Jay has, you know, health issues,
and we need to know about your health history for your family.
Because what if it can help my son when he gets older? You don't know that.
How soon after Thomas was born did JC pass away?
The same week he turned one.
It was almost a year.
Her son was born June...
JUDGE LAKE: So he saw him at three months old,
but never saw him again for nine months?
He never saw the baby?
I'm telling you, I was living in Vegas.
When me and him were together,
we lived in Henderson together.
He was in Henderson, I was in Vegas.
I didn't have a phone number,
he didn't have no way to contact me.
I didn't even know he was still here
until I'm scrolling down my news feed on Facebook
and I see a mutual friend of ours post,
"Rest in peace, Jay," with his picture.
And I contacted this person like,
"What's going on?"
And they tell me, so...
I wanna make sure it's true.
I called the coroner's office.
"Is it true you have JC Turner there?"
"Yes, it is true. Do you know where any of his family's at?
"'Cause he don't have family out here like that."
I was the one who told her he passed away.
I talked to the coroner's office.
They said they haven't even talked to her.
...behind my back,
to get a sample of his DNA, Your Honor.
Oh, no, ma'am.
She didn't even have the decency to bring it to me.
I called her and asked her,
she denied it.
That's why we're here today.
No. No, ma'am.
JUDGE LAKE: Ms. Crow, you say, now, all of these attempts to
be in contact and get the DNA and the benefits,
are all in hopes that your son will know his father,
but what were you doing actively for those nine months
to make sure your child knew his father?
Well, like I said...
I lost my father on the third month of that year
and the father of my son
the seventh month of that year.
I was going through stuff my own self.
I have a seven-year-old daughter, I have a four-year-old daughter.
Gotta make sure my daughter goes to school,
gotta make sure there's food on the table.
I have to make sure of all of these things,
and I didn't even have a job at the time,
but my kids were taken care of.
I took care of my kids.
I guess the question then becomes...
Why is your pursuit
different in death than it was in life?
Meaning, after the death,
you had the means, the time, the wherewithal,
RINEHART: She's always had that.
...to find the benefits,
find the DNA.
You want your child to know his father.
I understand your sentiment,
I'm just thinking about the intention.
And you say you knew him and you took care of him, and you...
All of these things you were to him...
How do you lose track of your child's biological father?
How do you not attend somebody's memorial
when they're giving a memorial of their death
because your daughter has school the next day?
You can't get a babysitter?
Um, no. That was what you guys did.
I went to the skate park where I met him.
No, I got proof. I got proof.
You can have all the proof you want
to make yourself feel better.
You were not there.
Because I know what I did.
You were not there.
Okay, good for you.
I was there for two hours with his best friend.
I didn't wanna go and be around you. You see how you act?
JUDGE LAKE: So you're saying, Ms. Crow,
you purposely did not go to the memorial service
because you didn't wanna have an encounter,
a negative encounter or altercation?
Right, because I'm already upset,
everybody's upset, and doesn't...
Nobody needs that extra drama.
JUDGE LAKE: So, Ms. Rinehart, I wanna ask you.
Have you ever seen Thomas?
I didn't even know when the baby was born,
because I wasn't contacted.
CROW: Jay knew.
Jay knew? He...
CROW: Yeah, JC knew.
He's supposedly "the alleged father." Not.
It don't have to be alleged,
because we're gonna find out today.
JUDGE LAKE: So, listen.
You'll see for yourself.
JUDGE LAKE: Yes, we are.
Yes, and then I... Then I can let my scab...
I can let my scab build back up.
'Cause it's all about you, right?
I'm the one that took...
It's about my son.
It don't matter about you or me, it's about my son.
I took care of JC.
My son deserves better, that's what he's gonna get.
I'm the one that took care of JC.
I'm the one that drove all the way from Wichita Falls, Texas,
paid for his cremation,
paid for the car to rent...
But what about when you left him here with no money?
...to lay him to rest
And I paid for him
so he wasn't homeless.
JUDGE LAKE: So, listen.
What about that?
I wanna ask you to be fair,
because I asked Ms. Crow this same question.
How did you lose track of him?
CROW: That's your son.
He was mad with me because he believed
that I was stealing his money.
I was the one making sure his bills were paid.
I was the one making sure he had a...
But when she left and he was evicted...
He had a...
And I was there, and he had no money.
He didn't have nowhere to go.
He had money...
I paid for him a place to stay.
He had a...
I had somewhere to stay.
I didn't have to spend that money, but I made sure he was okay
while he was with me.
So, we're here now,
and this is... This is serious
because JC is gone now,
he's no longer with us, but this baby,
who's potentially his biological child, is here, two years old.
Only seen his father one time,
and the mother and the grandmother are at odds.
I think I'm ready to get the results. How about you?
These results were prepared by DNA Diagnostics,
and they read as follows.
Because there wasn't a blood card available
to test the DNA of the deceased JC Turner,
we performed a DNA test with the surviving parent,
With that being said, the results determine
if there is a viable relationship
between the child Thomas Crow, and Maretta Rinehart.
In the case of Crow v. Rinehart,
when it comes to two-year-old Thomas Crow,
it has been determined by this court,
the percentage of relatedness
between Ms. Rinehart and Thomas Crow is...
99.6 percent. You are related.
My God, Jay. (SNIFFLES)
JUDGE LAKE: That is your grandchild.
Ms. Rinehart, you have never laid eyes on your grandchild.
Ms. Crow, I have to ask you.
Would it be okay if you join me in my chambers
so that Ms. Rinehart could meet him, hold him for the first time?
Yes, I would.
Would you like to see your grandson?
I'd love to.
JUDGE LAKE: All right.
That's what we're gonna do.
I'll meet you there.
Court is adjourned.
All right, ladies.
It has been a long, long journey,
but we've made it to this place, right?
And it's up to us to figure out where we go from here.
Jerome, are you there?
JEROME: I told you.
(WHISPERING) There's Mommy.
Can you say, "Hi, Grandma"?
Hi, can you give high-fives?
You wanna see her?
Go give love.
JUDGE LAKE: (GASPS) Yeah!
Take care of him. He's just precious. All right?
I wish you all the very best.
He's trying to play soccer.
Look, I'm good at this.
But this is an important moment, right?
That, let's hold on to forever, right?
I love this. This is fantastic.
This is the first time this has ever happened, and I'm loving it.