Suspected serial killer pleads not guilty

Jan. 28, 2013 at 3:21 PM
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WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., Jan. 28 (UPI) -- A suspected serial killer pleaded not guilty in White Plains, N.Y., to the slayings of two women, one a prostitute killed in 1993, court records said.

Lucius Crawford, 60, of Mount Vernon was ordered held for a psychiatric examination at his arraignment in Westchester County Court, The (White Plains) Journal News reported.

Crawford became a suspect in the 1993 deaths of Learonda Shealy and Nella West, stabbed to death five weeks apart, after a DNA match linked him to evidence recovered from West's body. Shealy was killed in the stairwell of a Yonkers apartment building and West was found in the Bronx borough of New York, the newspaper said.

Police found Tonya Simmons dead in Crawford's bed when they came to question him Dec. 4. He was taken into custody a short time later, court documents said.

"I don't know why I stabbed her because she did not do anything to me," detectives quoted Crawford as saying in reference to Simmons during questioning in December. "I just snapped and started stabbing her."

Crawford was charged in Simmons' murder. Monday's arraignment pertained to Simmons' and West's deaths.

Angelo MacDonald, Crawford's lawyer, has questioned the reliability of police interviews based on his client's low intelligence score. Crawford moved to the area after prison terms in South Carolina for attempted murder totaling 17 years, the newspaper said.

Crawford had an IQ of 64 and a history of treatment for "mental retardation, impulse control problems and aggressive behavior," a psychiatrist said after a 1994 evaluation.

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