Emotions boiled over in a Mineola court Friday as the Bethpage man accused of fatally stabbing his wife last month pleaded not guilty to murder and the couple’s teenage daughter, whom authorities say he also attacked, erupted with anger.
“Are you [expletive] kidding me?” the 16-year-old said as an attorney for her father, Robert Crumb, 44, entered a not guilty plea for him.
Crumb stabbed his wife several times before also wounding the teenager and then leading police on a high-speed chase that ended with a fiery crash at a Brooklyn gas station, prosecutor Donald Levin told a judge Friday.
Police found victim Maria Crumb, 41, dead in a bedroom in the family’s Seitz Drive home on Nov. 4 after the couple’s 12-year-old son called 911 at 12:39 a.m., according to authorities.
Crumb appeared for his arraignment Friday in a wheelchair, and wearing orange jail garb with handcuffs looped above casts covering his wrists and hands. He’s also facing charges of assault, weapon possession, reckless endangerment and resisting arrest. Authorities said he needed treatment for stab wounds to his neck and wrist after his arrest, and a law enforcement source previously said it appeared Crumb tried to kill himself before his capture.
Crumb’s daughter wore a brace on her right hand in court Friday. Police have said the teenager tried to stop the assault on her mother and suffered stab wounds to her hands, forearms and ankle.
The defendant led police on a 25-mile car chase across three counties at speeds that topped 100 mph, according to authorities. Nassau police said Crumb fled the crime scene, but a chase started about 10 minutes later after officers found him in his Hyundai Sonata parked near the Newbridge Road exit on the Southern State Parkway.
The pursuit went west, onto the Belt Parkway, before Crumb exited at Pennsylvania Avenue and crashed into a car and gas pump at a Flatlands Avenue gas station, causing an explosion and fire, according to authorities. Police have said Crumb then got out of his Hyundai and charged at the officers who were trying to arrest him. Levin also said in court Friday that Crumb knocked a police officer “out cold” and grabbed his gun immediately before his arrest.
Acting State Supreme Court Justice Terence Murphy remanded Crumb to jail without bail Friday and signed orders telling him not to have contact with his son or daughter. Crumb’s daughter shouted at him after the proceeding, calling him her mother’s killer.
The defendant ignored questions as a law enforcement official wheeled him out of court, and his father declined to comment while leaving the building.
A pastor who attended the arraignment with Crumb’s daughter and several other relatives of the deceased said the family had no comment Friday. Court officials ejected a relative from the arraignment after the man made an obscene remark as the defendant passed within inches of grieving relatives in the small courtroom.
Crumb’s attorney, Stephen Scaring of Garden City, confirmed outside court that his client had injuries to his neck and wrist.
“The whole story needs to be told and we’ll do that as the case develops . . . The case obviously isn’t as simple as it may seem. We have to see how the evidence develops at trial,” he said.
Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a prepared statement that Maria Crumb’s life “was tragically and violently cut short,” and extended sympathies to her family.