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, the Bronx District’s Attorney’s Office said.
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 fractures to her skull and cuts on her face, authorities said.
Crawford stabbed 10 women in the Charleston area in the 1970s, but all survived. He moved to New York after he was released from prison in 1991.
He was arrested this month after New York police visited his home to question him about two unsolved 1993 homicides and found a 41-year-old woman stabbed to death in his bed, authorities said.
The West case remained a mystery until March, when advances in DNA technology linked Crawford to the crime, prosecutors said. Tests also revealed West was sexually assaulted, but the statute of limitations has expired on that crime, they said.
Crawford appeared in a New York court Tuesday, and a judge ordered him held without bail. 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.
“I have not been provided any information in that case other than what I am hearing in the press,” he said.
Crawford has reportedly confessed to killing West, the woman found in his bed and another fatal stabbing from 1993. But in a jailhouse interview, he told a New York reporter he claims only the body found in his bed.
MacDonald said he remains concerned that Crawford’s alleged confession was coerced.
“He’s telling me he did not do those crimes,” 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. In confessing to those crimes, he alluded 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.
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