BRONX, NEW YORK, December19- District Attorney Robert T. Johnson announced that a murder charge has been filed against a 60-year-old defendant in connection with the brutal stabbing of a woman in Riverdale 19 years ago on October 20, 1993.
Lucius Crawford, of Beekman Avenue, Mount Vernon, New York, was indicted by the grand jury on one count of murder in the second degree. The indictment alleges that Crawford acted “with intent” in causing the death of 38-year-old Nella West by “blunt force trauma and sharp injuries to the head, face, and abdomen.” The deceased was stabbed multiple times and had sustained multiple fractures to her skull and numerous blunt force injuries and lacerations to her face.
Crawford, who was arrested last month in Mount Vernon, was arraigned before State Supreme Court Justice Richard Lee Price in Part T-16. The judge ordered that Crawford be held without bail.
The homicide remained unsolved until March of this year when the NYC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner developed a full DNA profile of a suspect as a result of advances in DNA technology that was not available when the homicide occurred. Investigators were able to develop a profile from forensic evidence retrieved from vaginal swabs taken from the deceased.
(No sex crime could be charged in this case because the Statute of Limitations for sexual offenses has expired.) The profile was uploaded to the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) and was found to be a match to Crawford, who was paroled in 2008 after serving ten years on a conviction in Westchester County.
The investigation was re-opened by the NYPD 50th Precinct Detective Squad and the Bronx District Attorney’s Office as a result of a grant to test DNA forensic evidence in “cold cases”. Court records indicate that upon his apprehension the defendant admitted to causing West’s death.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Rachel Singer, Director of DNA Prosecutions.
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