Young Cramm raises jail ruckus


Herald Writer

A teen-ager accused in the May 30 shooting deaths of two other young men has been misbehaving so much while in jail that it took a court order Friday to get corrections officials to allow him access to a pencil.

Dennis J. Cramm, 18, is scheduled to go on trial Feb. 9, charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Jason Thompson and Jesse Stoner, both 18 at the time of their deaths. The pair died after a fistfight outside Cramm’s south Everett home ended in gunfire.

Cramm was 17 when he was arrested for the shootings, and he’s spent much of his time in jail breaking the rules, running up a list of nearly 40 infractions, Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Richard Thorpe was told Friday.

Among other things, Cramm allegedly has plugged up his cell toilet, causing it to overflow, refused on occasion to make his bed or clean up messes, and attempted to communicate with his father, Dale Cramm, 44, who is serving an eight-month sentence for drug trafficking, according to a letter from corrections officials. Communication between the pair is forbidden because Dale Cramm is listed as a witness for his son’s trial.

Corrections staff wrote the judge about Dennis Cramm’s alleged misdeeds to explain why they curtailed his access to pencils and paper.

"This is just a brief outline showing Dennis Cramm’s inability to follow rules, something he jokes about when comments are made about all his violations by both staff and other inmates," corrections officer Marlene Fairbanks wrote. "He appears to be very immature. This immaturity is shown by him teasing other inmates about their charges, punching another inmate in the arm, kicking his door and yelling."

Cramm’s attorney, Royce Ferguson of Everett, on Friday asked Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Richard Thorpe to order corrections officials to give his client access to writing materials. The younger Cramm needs to review police reports and witness statements in preparation for trial, and he needs to be able to write down his questions and concerns, Ferguson said.

Cramm has pleaded innocent and is expected to argue he shot in self-defense.

Deputy prosecutor Ed Stemler said the reports contain addresses and phone numbers of witnesses, and he is concerned that Cramm might attempt to contact them if he is able to write down the information.

He said Cramm should review his case records under the watchful eye of corrections officials, without access to writing materials. In the alternative, corrections officials have suggested strip searching Cramm afterward to make sure he isn’t trying to smuggle out information, Stemler said.

Thorpe ruled that Cramm be given access to a pencil, but said the defendant will have to write any notes to his attorney on the police reports he is reviewing. He also ordered corrections staff to check each record Cramm reviews to make sure he doesn’t tear away pieces of paper.

Ferguson suggested his client may not be comfortable leaving notes to his lawyer that could be read by corrections officials. Thorpe was unmoved, although he did order that anything corrections officials see not be shared with prosecutors.

"I’m not particularly concerned, under the circumstances, with his level of comfort," the judge said.

The hearing was watched by Sonny and Mary Thompson, the parents of one of the teens allegedly killed by Cramm. Sonny Thompson wore his son’s Mariner High School letterman’s jacket. Jason Thompson had been a standout athlete, earning letters in football, basketball and track.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Snohomish residents Barbara Bailey, right, and Beth Jarvis sit on a gate atop a levee on Bailey’s property on Monday, May 13, 2024, at Bailey Farm in Snohomish, Washington. Bailey is concerned the expansion of nearby Harvey Field Airport will lead to levee failures during future flood events due to a reduction of space for floodwater to safely go. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Harvey Field seeks to reroute runway in floodplain, faces new pushback

Snohomish farmers and neighbors worry the project will be disruptive and worsen flooding. Ownership advised people to “read the science.”

IAM District 751 machinists join the picket line to support Boeing firefighters during their lockout from the company on Thursday, May 16, 2024, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Amid lockout, Boeing, union firefighters return to bargaining table

The firefighters and the planemaker held limited negotiations this week: They plan to meet again Monday, but a lockout continues.

2 injured in Bothell Everett Highway crash

The highway was briefly reduced to one northbound lane while police investigated the three-car crash Saturday afternoon.

Heavy traffic northbound on 1-5 in Everett, Washington on August 31, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
On I-5 in Everett, traffic nightmare is reminder we’re ‘very vulnerable’

After a police shooting shut down the freeway, commutes turned into all-night affairs. It was just a hint of what could be in a widespread disaster.

Anthony Brock performs at Artisans PNW during the first day of the Fisherman’s Village Music Fest on Thursday, May 16, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
At downtown Everett musical festival: ‘Be weird and dance with us’

In its first night, Fisherman’s Village brought together people who “might not normally be in the same room together” — with big acts still to come.

Two troopers place a photo of slain Washington State Patrol trooper Chris Gadd outside District 7 Headquarters about twelve hours after Gadd was struck and killed on southbound I-5 about a mile from the headquarters on Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Marysville, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Judge reduces bail for driver accused of killing Marysville trooper

After hearing from Raul Benitez Santana’s family, a judge decreased bail to $100,000. A deputy prosecutor said he was “very disappointed.”

Pet detective Jim Branson stops to poke through some fur that Raphael the dog found while searching on Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Everett, Washington. Branson determined the fur in question was likely from a rabbit, and not a missing cat.(Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lost a pet? Pet detective James Branson and his dogs may be able to help

James Branson, founder of Three Retrievers Lost Pet Rescue, helps people in the Seattle area find their missing pets for $350.

Community Transit leaders, from left, Chief Communications Officer Geoff Patrick, Zero-Emissions Program Manager Jay Heim, PIO Monica Spain, Director of Maintenance Mike Swehla and CEO Ric Ilgenfritz stand in front of Community Transit’s hydrogen-powered bus on Monday, May 13, 2024, at the Community Transit Operations Base in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
New hydrogen, electric buses get trial run in Snohomish County

As part of a zero-emission pilot program from Community Transit, the hydrogen bus will be the first in the Puget Sound area.

Two people fight on the side of I-5 neat Marysville. (Photo provided by WSDOT)
Video: Man charged at trooper, shouting ‘Who’s the boss?’ before shooting

The deadly shooting shut down northbound I-5 near Everett for hours. Neither the trooper nor the deceased had been identified as of Friday.

Two people fight on the side of I-5 neat Marysville. (Photo provided by WSDOT)
Road rage, fatal police shooting along I-5 blocks traffic near Everett

An attack on road workers preceded a report of shots fired Thursday, snarling freeway traffic in the region for hours.

The Port of Everett and Everett Marina on Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Is Port of Everett’s proposed expansion a ‘stealth tax?’ Judge says no

A Snohomish resident lost a battle in court this week protesting what he believes is a misleading measure from the Port of Everett.

Pablo Garduno and the team at Barbacoa Judith’s churn out pit-roasted lamb tacos by the dozen at the Hidden Gems Weekend Market on Sunday, April 28, 2024, at Boom City in Tulalip, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Eating our way through Tulalip’s Hidden Gems weekend market

Don’t miss the pupusas, pit-roasted lamb tacos, elotes and even produce for your next meal.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.