Shannon Crawley, NC - Sentenced to LWOP

Started by Michael, February 12, 2010, 08:00:35 AM

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February 12, 2010, 08:00:35 AM Last Edit: February 24, 2010, 08:05:08 AM by gabenga
Witness testimony begins today in the trial of a woman charged with killing her former lover's fiancee.

Attorneys took all day Tuesday to select jurors who will decide whether Shannon Crawley, then 27, murdered Denita Smith, a 25-year-old N.C. Central University graduate, three years ago.

Smith was engaged to Greensboro police officer Jermeir Jackson-Stroud.

In a pretrial hearing Monday, Durham police investigators testified that Jackson-Stroud and Crawley were neighbors and had a sexual relationship from the end of 2004 to the beginning of 2006. Crawley was a Guilford County 911 dispatcher at the time.

A year after the couple broke up, Smith was found dead, shot in the head at the bottom of a staircase at Campus Crossings Apartments.

Superior Court Judge Ronald Stephens will rule this morning on a defense motion to keep investigators from testifying on what Crawley told them about her relationship with Jackson-Stroud, including an abortion a month before they broke up.

Stephens will also rule on a separate defense motion aimed at suppressing evidence that Crawley accused Jackson-Stroud of raping her in Mecklenburg County in June 2008, 18 months after the slaying.

Opening statements are likely to begin around midday.

A witness reported seeing a burgundy Ford Explorer and a woman matching Crawley's description at the apartments shortly after gunfire was heard the morning of Jan. 4, 2007, according to police. A warrant to search Crawley's home and car indicated that Jackson-Stroud told police the defendant had such a vehicle and had "stalked him for a while."

While investigators spoke with Crawley in Greensboro, other officers took pictures of her Ford Explorer and worked to confirm it was the same one seen at Smith's apartment complex, Durham police investigator Shawn Pate testified.
I´m not sure if there´s a hell, but I believe in executed murderers.


Jury Deliberating In N.C. Central Student Murder

The fate of a former Guilford County 911 dispatcher accused of killing a North Carolina Central student in "cold blood" is now in the hands of the jury. Attorneys wrapped up closing arguments around 1:30 this afternoon.

Prosecutors are trying to prove that Shannon Crawley planned to kill Denita Smith, which would be first degree murder. Crawley is accused of shooting Smith right after 8:00 a.m. on January 4, 2007, outside of the student's apartment at the Campus Crossings complex in Durham.

"We lost a star," said Assistant District Attorney David Saaks as he started his closing argument Friday morning. "Right now Denita Smith should be a journalist covering this trial. She should be celebrating her second year of marriage."

Smith had been engaged for two months when she died. The defense is trying to prove her fiancée, Jermeir Jackson-Stroud, who is Crawley's former lover, killed her. Crawley lived just one block from Jackson-Stroud, who is a Greensboro police officer.

"She's been trying to set [him] up all along and now she's trying to do it again," Saaks said. "How much sense does this make to you? He could've found a lake somewhere or the ocean and gotten rid of her? Why does he do it outside of Denita's place, in broad daylight, in Durham?"

During this nine-day trial, the state has tried to prove the three were involved in a love triangle gone wrong and that Crawley drove from Greensboro to kill Smith. Crawley's defense attorney, C. Scott Holmes, said it just doesn't make sense.

"There's a lot of talk about love triangle. The state has not proved envy here. The state says Shannon envied Denita. She never even met her," Holmes said. "The state hasn't even proved that Shannon knew where this woman lives."

Holmes said there are too many holes in the state's case and that Durham Police were too quick to dismiss other suspects.

"In very important cases there's this tremendous pressure for police to make an arrest," Holmes said.

But prosecutors contend that Crawley's statements to investigators have changed several times during these last three years and that evidence puts her at the crime scene.

"This is a woman who is supposed to be terrified of guns," Saaks told the jury. "If you have never owned a gun - why is there gunshot residue on your driver's seat?"

Saaks said that gunshot residue in Crawley's car is just one piece of the evidence that ties her to the crime scene. He said cell phone records put her there. He also said she bought a gun from a co-worker months before but told a different story to investigators when they first interviewed her.

"The very first day this investigation gets to Greensboro - what does she say? 'I've never been to Durham. I've never had a gun,'" Saaks said. "Then how do you explain your cell phone pinging off a tower 8/10ths of a mile from this apartment complex."

Prosecutors never found the gun that killed Denita Smith. They believe Crawley ditched the gun and bullets in separate Dumpsters at a Greensboro mall.

Shannon Crawley|Sports|Lifestyles/story/48371/closing-arguments-expected-in-n.c.-central-student-murder
I´m not sure if there´s a hell, but I believe in executed murderers.


Crawley guilty of murder in Smith case

Shannon Crawley will spend the rest of her life in prison after a jury found her guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Denita Smith, an N.C. Central University graduate student shot to death in 2007.

The jury did not believe Crawley's story that her ex-lover, Greensboro police officer Jermeir Stroud, had shot Smith.

Smith's mother, Sharon Smith, told Crawley: "Some day I may forgive you, but I don't. Right now I hope you rot in hell."

Crawley had a relationship with Stroud, and the prosecution argued she killed Smith, Stroud's fiancee, out of jealousy. Assistant District Attorney David Saacks emphasized last week how Crawley had changed her story speaking to witnesses, police investigators and the court over the past three years.

She made differing statements about whether she had lived at Smith's apartment complex, whether she went to a doctor's appointment the morning of Smith's murder, whether she had ever been to Durham and whether she had ever possessed a gun.

"This story is shifting more than the sands of the Sahara," Saacks said. "It seems to change every time there's a new piece of evidence that comes up."

Someone needs a penpal?  ;)

I´m not sure if there´s a hell, but I believe in executed murderers.

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