Crawford jury: GUILTY

"We the jury find the defendant, Antonio Dale Crawford, guilty of the willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing of Sarah Crawford in the commission of the abduction with the intent to defile Sarah Crawford and in the commission of the rape of Sarah Crawford."

And thus did Charlottesville's first capital murder case in nearly a decade draw to a close today at 12:45pm, as the jury returned guilty verdicts on six of the seven counts against the Manassas man charged in late 2004 with killing his wife and leaving her body in a Charlottesville motel room.

Nobody said a word as Judge Edward Hogshire read the verdicts, although a slight blush seemed to fill the face of the 48-year-old defendant, who had claimed that his wife died trying to wrestle a gun away from him as he was attempting to take his own life. Following the verdict, Sarah Crawford's parents, Irene and John Powers, wiped tears away and hugged assistant Commonwealth's Attorneys Jon Zug and Joe Platania, then greeted and hugged members of a group of detectives from Jacksonville, Florida, where Crawford was apprended, and from Charlottesville, where Sarah's body was found.
Parties to the case declined to speak with the press pending the sentencing, which will take place later this afternoon. However, in what might have seemed like a good thing for the defense, the lone "not guilty" verdict– on the charge of using a firearm in the commission of a rape– could possibly be seen as an endorsement of the prosecution's most contentious theory: that Crawford performed sexual acts on a corpse.

In addition to the capital murder conviction, Crawford was found guilty of rape, abduction with intent to defile, grand larcency (for stealing her car), and the use of a firearm in the commission of both a murder and an abduction.

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5 comments

I was a juror on this case and I firmly beleive that Mr. Crawford was given a very fair trail and recieved an appropriate sentence. We the jurors agonized over every charge. There were many wet eyes and voices choked with emotion as we went through bags and boxes, and photographic evidence that still linger in the back of my mind.

While walking back to the parking garage the magnitude of what we have done started to sink in. I have always had doubts about the death penalty and yet I had just sentenced someone to what amounts to 3 death penalties.

It would bother more if it didn't bother me. It shouldn't be easy.

thankfully, chapman's prosectution presented a clear picture of the events that happened that night.

don't execute him... put him in a secure enclosure for life, with some bad ass men desiring a wife..

No one ever had to worry about Mr. Crawford being executed. The prosecution made that clear well over a year ago when they waived the death penalty to the case. It was always believed that the defendant was a threat only to whoever was his significant other. The view was if he could be put behind bars for the rest of his life, he would never harm another domestic partner as he would never have one again. We can only hope that he will use his remaining years to reflect on the horror he visited upon Sarah, and finally take some responsibility for his actions and demonstrate some remorse for his crime. I would love to see that, but will not be holding my breath.

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