It is often said that murderers are the criminals least likely to repeat their crimes.
Does that statistic matter if you become the victim of one who bucks the trend? ---------------------------- 3/7/2009 - Ohio
Parolee who killed self, 5 others had vowed to change
A man who killed himself a day after allegedly killing his wife and four others told a judge in 2005 that he was ready to be a law-abiding citizen who would not let society down if he was released from prison. "I swear to you from the bottom of my heart that I 'WILL NOT' let you down. Let my wife or children down. Let my family down. Let society down. Or especially, let myself down," Davon Crawford wrote to Cuyahoga County Judge Michael Russo as part of a motion for release. Crawford, who was freed in 2007, shot himself in the head Friday afternoon when confronted by police in the bathroom of a house not far from the house where his wife, along with his sister-in-law and her three young children were found dead, said Police Lt. Thomas Stacho. Police said Crawford is suspected of killing them. Cuyahoga County coroner's spokesman Powell Cesar confirmed Saturday that all five victims were shot in the head. Crawford, 33, was divorced from his first wife about three months after writing the letter to Russo, records show. He married again only on Monday of the same week, according to Lamar Arnold, the father of his new wife, 30-year-old Lechea Crawford. She was one of the women killed in the couple's home Thursday night, and police say a 2-month-old baby girl, Laylah was found unharmed in the home. The two-story red-and-yellow wood frame home where Crawford died is located in a densely populated Cleveland neighborhood. Several dozen people lined up behind yellow police tape across the street, cheering as a sheet-covered stretcher was removed from the house, and cheering again when a van left the neighborhood with the body Friday evening. Dozens also gathered Friday evening about four blocks away, on the street where Thursday's slayings took place, to hold a candlelight vigil and rally. A memorial of more than a dozen stuffed animals had grown on the front steps. Crawford was convicted in 1995 of a plea-bargained voluntary manslaughter charge after killing 22-year-old Joseph Smith in a dispute over a girlfriend. "I didn't mean to take a life, but a life is took," Crawford said during his trial. "I apologize to the family [of Smith], but I did what I had to do." He was released in 2000 and sent back to prison in 2002 on a felonious assault conviction involving domestic violence, endangering children, having a weapon while on parole and failure to comply with an officer's order. In the 2005 letter, Crawford apologizes for firing a gun in his home and says, "I made an insensible choice in a moment of anger that could have actually cost me my wife and children.... I now realize that when I make bad impulsive decisions, that I do not only hurt myself, but that I hurt everyone that love and cares for me as well, and especially my children." He wrote that his then-wife had lung cancer and that he had a job and supporting family waiting for him. His wife, mother and others wrote Russo on his behalf, noting that he had three children at the time and had taken parenting and anger management courses and was studying dental lab technology. While on parole, which ended last year, Crawford passed several drug tests, paid his child support, had a full-time job and no run-ins with authorities, according to Andrea Carson, a spokeswoman for the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. However relatives said he had recently failed a drug test and was worried about having to go back to prison. Police searching for Crawford on Friday received a tip about his whereabouts and set up surveillance at the house where he was later seen by authorities, Stacho said. Officers forced their way through the front door and found Crawford hiding in the bathtub, officials said. He fired one shot from a handgun, killing himself, said Jeff Carter, a U.S. Marshals Service spokesman. "There was no standoff," Stacho said. "As they confronted him, he shot himself." Stacho said officials believe a relative of Crawford lives at the house. He said a woman was found in another part of the home, but police did not release any information about her connection to Crawford. Police Chief Michael McGrath said it appears that some sort of domestic argument sparked Thursday's shootings. Besides Lechea Wiggins Crawford, killed were her sister Rose Stevens, 25, and Stevens' three children: 4-year-old Destanee Woods and 2-year-old twins Dion and Davion Primm. Lechea's 7-year-old son Kamar was wounded and was being treated at MetroHealth Medical Center. Two other boys in the house, ages 12 and 13, escaped unharmed and one called 911, officials said.
3/3/09 - Illinois
Husband in murder-suicide had killed previous wife
A man who stabbed his first wife to death more than two decades ago used a Civil War replica rifle to kill his current wife and her son before committing suicide in their upscale suburban Chicago home, police said. Richard Wiley left a 40-page, handwritten suicide note indicating he shot and killed Kathy Motes, 50, and Christopher Motes, 17, and saying he refused to go back to prison, Wilmette police Deputy Chief Brian King said. Police conducting a well-being check Monday found the three bodies inside their Wilmette home, a parsonage of the family's church, where Kathy Motes worked. King said Wiley, 54, apparently killed his wife and stepson Saturday afternoon, then shot himself Sunday night. Wiley stabbed his 25-year-old wife, Ruth, to death in 1985, and was convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison two years later, according to news reports at the time. He was paroled in 2000. At his murder trial, Wiley said he suffered from a rare mental disease called "intermittent explosive disorder," but the judge rejected his claim that he was insane. Wiley reportedly called police himself after the 1985 killing and was found "leaning over the victim, hugging her and crying, `I'm sorry, I'm sorry.'" Wiley suggested in his suicide note that he killed Kathy Motes during an argument, then killed her son. "It's a kind of a dissertation of the difficulties that Mr. Wiley was having," King said of the note, adding that it included "hints of remorse." Authorities believe Wiley shot Kathy Motes around 2:30 p.m Saturday, then shot the teen when he returned home from a Boy Scout meeting later in the afternoon, King said. The bodies of Wiley and Kathy Motes were found in a second-floor bedroom, while Christopher Motes was found in an upstairs bathroom; all three had single gunshot wounds to the head, King said. The murder weapon, found by Wiley's body in a second-floor bedroom, was a black-powder, muzzleloading Civil War replica rifle that may have belonged to Christopher Motes, a Civil War buff, King said. Wiley apparently had sawed off the barrel of the rifle, which could take several minutes to load because it requires black powder and a metal ball to be loaded through the muzzle, he said. Despite Wiley's criminal history, King said police had no previous complaints of violence at the Wilmette home and there were no orders of protection against Wiley. "There's nothing that predicted this level of violence in that home," King said at a news conference. But James Morici, who prosecuted Wiley for the 1985 murder, said he remembered Wiley as intelligent but scary and that he feared Wiley might come after him. "I don't know why I felt this way, but I always thought that if anyone I prosecuted was sitting in the penitentiary counting the days, looking to seek me out in revenge, it would be Wiley," Morici said. Wiley grew up in relative wealth in Wilmette, attended New Trier Township High School and became known as "a party boy" with alcohol problems, Morici said. Wiley met Kathy Motes through their church, First Presbyterian of Wilmette, where she worked as an office coordinator. The pastor, the Rev. Sarah Sarchet Butter, said church members knew about Wiley's past but that "our faith community welcomed and loved him." Wiley was unemployed but was a talented carpenter who had built cabinets for the church, Butter said. She said Kathy Motes was "beloved of our congregation." Christopher Motes' classmates at New Trier were in shock, District 203 Superintendent Linda Yonke said Tuesday. "Chris was a well-known and well-loved senior," Yonke said. "He was an easygoing student who had many friends." He participated in Scouts, belonged to a military history club at New Trier and had been accepted to attend Roanoke College in Virginia, Yonke said.
10/2008 - Georgia
Sentenced to death but released to kill again: On March 6, 1974, James Rouse Jr. was abducted at gunpoint in his car by two fugitives--William Jordan and Anthony Prevatte. Both men were wanted in North Carolina for a series of robberies. The car ride ended on a remote back road at the edge of a forest in Georgia. The kidnappers forced James Rouse to march barefoot into the woods. When they reached the shore of a deserted lake, they stopped. James Rouse was shot at point-blank range with a sawed-off shotgun. He died instantly. The next day, in Wadesboro, North Carolina, police received and anonymous tip that Jordan and Prevatte were back in town. According to Sheriff Tommy Allen, Jr. of the Anson County Sheriff's Department, the two fugitives were hiding at the home of a friend: "Prevatte and Jordan had a reputation for being predominately into property theft, housebreaking, and those types of things. We didn't really suspect that they were involved in anything serious, other than that." The deputies approached the house, fully expecting to make an arrest. But according to Sheriff Allen, Jordan and Prevatte were one step ahead of them: "Everything was happening so fast, but it seemed extreme that these guys were using this much excessive force to get away from us just because we wanted to talk to them about some house break-ins." Prevatte and Jordan were booked on charges of breaking and entering, larceny, and assaulting officers with a firearm. But police in North Carolina still didn't know that the two men were killers. 48 hours later, the body of James Rouse was discovered near a lake in Georgia. It was his stolen car that Jordan and Prevatte had crashed in Wadesboro. It didn't take long to piece together the rest. A shotgun shell found at the murder scene sealed the case against Jordan and Prevatte. Ballistics test revealed that Rouse had been killed with a blast from the same shotgun that the pair had dumped during the chase. Finally, and most chilling of all, police in North Carolina found arrogant trophies of the murder in Georgia. According to Sheriff Allen, Jordan and Prevatte took photos of themselves leaning against Rouse's car with the same shotgun that killed him: "They were both eventually extradited back to Georgia, both found guilty of first-degree murder, both given the death sentence." However, neither Jordan nor Prevatte stayed on death row. The Georgia Supreme Court reduced their sentences to life in prison. It wasn't long before Prevatte was paroled. Soon after, he murdered his girlfriend and was returned to prison. Once again, he was sentenced to death. This time, the sentence stood. The story of William Jordan, however, has yet to end. After ten years in prison, Jordan was assigned to a minimum-security work farm for good behavior. But his image as a model prisoner proved false. One day, Jordan and a fellow prisoner stole a truck near a work site and drove off. A month later, police caught the inmate who escaped with him, but Jordan has eluded capture ever since. Decades have passed since Jordan and Prevatte murdered James Rouse Jr., but his family still feels the pain. William Jordan is 6'2" tall, has brown graying hair, and probably wears glasses. Jordan has several distinctive tattoos, including a spider on his right arm and a cross with the name "Sybil" on his left arm.
5/5/2008 - Maryland
A two-time convicted murderer is on trial for strangling another inmate aboard a prison bus
In her opening statement, assistant Baltimore County State's Attorney Ann Brobst said 25-year-old Kevin Johns strangled 20-year-old Phillip Parker because killing people causes him to become sexually aroused. Defense attorney Harry Trainor countered that Johns has suffered from a lifetime of mental illness and could not control his actions. Earlier Monday, Johns waived his right to a jury trial. Harford County Circuit Court Judge Emory Plitt is hearing the case. Johns allegedly killed Parker aboard a bus that was taking inmates from Hagerstown to Baltimore in February 2005. The day before Parker died, he had testified at Johns' sentencing for the 2004 murder of a prisoner at the Maryland Correctional Training Center near Hagerstown.
7/24/2004 - Alabama
Man murdered woman who befriended him after prior murder conviction
James Hubbard was sentenced to death in 1977 for the murder of a Tuscaloosa woman who befriended him after he was released from prison. Hubbard had served a 20 year sentence for a murder conviction, and called police to report a shooting on January 10, 1977. He said Lillian Montgomery, whom he was living with, had shot herself at her home in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She died as the result of three gunshot wounds, one to the face, one to the head, and one to the shoulder, a difficult accomplishment as a suicide. Hubbard first went to prison in 1957 for a second-degree murder conviction in the death of David Dockery in Tuscaloosa County. He was released in 1976 and killed again the next year. His second victim, 62-year-old store owner Lillian Montgomery, was shot three times and robbed of her gold and diamond wristwatch and about $500 in cash and checks. She had befriended Hubbard and "sponsored" him to gain his release in 1976. Hubbard had moved into her home next door to the store she ran on U.S. Highway 82, according to court records. In a police statement, Hubbard said he had been drinking whiskey with Montgomery and claimed she committed suicide. Prosecutors introduced evidence that she couldn't have fired the fatal shots on Jan. 10, 1977. Hubbard was twice convicted in her death. An appeals court overturned the first conviction. But he was again sentenced to death at retrial and in 2003 the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review it. The victim's son, Jimmy Montgomery, 66, a Tuscaloosa businessman, said he and his sister plan to attend the execution. "I hope it will be over," Montgomery said. "He shot her with a pistol I'd given her." Another son, 58-year-old Johnny Montgomery, a Birmingham-area real estate agent, doesn't plan to witness the execution, saying he feels "powerless" over what goes on with Hubbard and has never communicated with him. "One time I could have taken care of this guy with my own hands if they let me," the younger brother said in a telephone interview. "God has given me peace with this. I have forgiven him."
just a few examples taken from prodeathpenalty.com recidivism window