New York grand jury indicts Crawford in cold case killing
A New York grand jury has indicted former Charleston resident Lucius Crawford in the fatal stabbing of a Bronx woman 16 years ago.
Crawford, 60, of Mount Vernon, N.Y., faces a charge of second-degree murder in the slaying of 38-year-old Nella West in October 1993, according to the Bronx District’s Attorney’s Office.
Crawford is accused of killing West with “blunt force trauma and sharp injuries to the head, face and abdomen,” the indictment states. West was stabbed multiple times and had multiple fractures to her skull and cuts on her face, authorities said.
Crawford, who stabbed 10 women in the Charleston area in the 1970s, moved to New York after he was released from a South Carolina prison in 1991. Though some of his Charleston victims had serious injuries, all survived.
He was arrested earlier this month after New York police visited his home to question him about two unsolved 1993 homicides and found a 41-year-old woman found stabbed to death in his bed in Mount Vernon, authorities said.
One of the old homicides was the West case, which remained a mystery until March, when advances in DNA technology linked Crawford to the crime, authorities said. Tests also indicated that West had been sexually assaulted, but no sex crime charges will be filed because the statute of limitations has expired, the district attorney’s office said.
Crawford appeared in a New York court Tuesday, and a judge ordered him held without bail, prosecutors said.
Attorney Angelo MacDonald, who is representing Crawford in the Mount Vernon killing, said he expects to be appointed to handle the Bronx defense as well but that hasn’t happened yet.
“So I have not been provided any information in that case other than what I am hearing in the press,” he said.
Crawford reportedly confessed to killing West, the woman found in his bed and another fatal stabbing from 1993 after his arrest this month. In a jailhouse interview, however, he told a reporter from The Journal News in New York that he claims only the body found in his bed.
MacDonald said he has yet to have a lengthy sit-down with Crawford, but concerns remain that his alleged confession was somehow coerced.
“He’s telling me he did not do those crimes, and yet I am hearing he supposedly confessed to them,” he said.
Crawford served prison time in his home state after stabbing sprees in 1973 and 1977. Both times, he stabbed five women in a week’s time in Charleston and North Charleston. He confessed to his crimes after he was arrested and tried to provide some perspective on his actions, alluding to his failed overtures at winning women’s hearts.
“All these girls talk to everybody else but won’t talk to me and guess that’s why I cut them — I guess this is in my mind,” he told Charleston County police in 1973.
Reach Glenn Smith at 937-5556 or Twitter.com/glennsmith5.