The man arrested in New York City on Tuesday afternoon after being sought in connection with two 19-year-old unsolved murders is a 60-year-old ex-convict from South Carolina whose documented history of violence against women stretches back almost 40 years, the NYPD said Wednesday.
Lucius Crawford was arrested Tuesday afternoon, hours after detectives from the NYPD 50th Precinct, Bronx Homicide Squad and the Yonkers Police Department, accompanied by a New York State Parole officer, entered his apartment and found the body of a 41-year-old woman, who was stabbed nine times in the chest, under a sheet on his bed.
NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne said in a statement Wednesday that Crawford, who had fled, leaving his parole tracking ankle bracelet behind, later confessed to detectives of three jurisdictions to the murder of the Mount Vernon woman, as well as to the murders of two other women that had gone unsolved for almost 20 years -- Laronda Shealy of Yonkers, who was stabbed to death on Sept. 13, 1993; and, Nella West, 38, who was stabbed to death in the Riverdale section of the Bronx on Oct. 20, 1993.
Police said Crawford was on parole after being imprisoned between March 1995 and Feb. 8, 2008, for the stabbing of another Westchester woman.
The NYPD Detective Bureau immediately notified Suffolk County police of Crawford's arrest, Browne said, noting the ongoing Gilgo Beach investigation -- and because of Crawford's "extensive history of violence against women."
But Suffolk police said Wednesday they do not believe Crawford is connected to the murders of 10 victims found in December 2010 near Gilgo Beach and in the spring of 2011 along the Ocean Parkway in both Nassau and Suffolk.
Nevertheless, Crawford has a history that, according to the NYPD, includes knife attacks on at least 13 women dating back to 1973 in addition to the three murders police said the violent ex-convict confessed to following his arrest Tuesday.
Four of those knife attacks took place in Charleston, S.C., during a five-day span in May 1973, and led to the conviction of Crawford on three counts of assault with intent to kill, police said. Eight additional attacks took place in Charleston during a three-week period April 1977, including what police said were the stabbing attacks on five females -- ages 14 to 28 -- during a five-day span. That led to a 24-year sentence that Crawford began serving on June 22, 1977, police said.
Following his release on Feb. 1, 1991, police said Crawford made his way to New York and on Sept. 27, 1991, he was arrested for assault in White Plains.
In that incident, police said, Crawford punched a former girlfriend in the mouth.
Police said he had been living in a men's shelter in Greenburgh, N.Y., at the time. He was convicted of assault and was sentenced to 184 days in Westchester County Jail.
Released on Dec. 5, 1991, Crawford spent the next three years under the radar -- though, based on his confession following his arrest Tuesday afternoon, police now believe he committed at least two stabbing murders in 1993.
Police do know that on May 10, 1994, Crawford was arrested for attempted murder of a 31-year-old woman he stalked, then stabbed 13 times, after she rebuffed his sexual advances when the two had worked together at a job-placement agency in Yonkers. In March, 1995, Crawford was convicted -- and sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison, police said Wednesday.
He was released on parole on Feb. 8, 2008, and was pursuing his GED when arrested following the discovery of the 41-year-old stabbing victim inside his apartment Tuesday.