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Attorney General Baker Announces Execution Date for Eddie Albert Crawford

PRESS ADVISORY

Attorney General Baker Announces Execution Date for Eddie Albert Crawford

July 7, 2004

Georgia Attorney General Thurbert E. Baker offers the following information in the case against Eddie Albert Crawford, who is currently scheduled to be executed at 7:00 p.m. on July 19, 2004.

Scheduled Execution

On July 7, 2004, the Superior Court of Spalding County filed an order, setting the seven-day window in which the execution of Eddie Albert Crawford may occur to begin at noon, July 19, 2004, and end seven days later at noon on July 26, 2004. The Commissioner of the Department of Corrections has set the specific date and time for the execution as 7:00 p.m., July 19, 2004, pursuant to the discretion given the Commissioner under state law. Eddie Albert Crawford has concluded his direct appeal, as well as state and federal habeas corpus proceedings.

Crawford’s Crimes

The Supreme Court of Georgia summarized the facts of the case as follows:

The evidence at trial showed that the victim and the victim's mother, Wanda English, resided with Mrs. English's parents. The defendant was married to, but estranged from, one of Mrs. English's sisters at the time of the victim's death. At approximately 11:00 p.m. Saturday, September 24, 1983, Mrs. English readied the victim for bed. The defendant arrived at the victim's residence and asked Mrs. English to accompany him to a liquor store. Mrs. English agreed. The defendant was intoxicated and, en route from the liquor store, made an unsuccessful attempt to purchase marijuana. The two returned to Mrs. English's residence where the defendant asked Mrs. English to spend the night with him. When she refused, the defendant left.

Mrs. English encountered the defendant later that same night at the house of another of her sisters. During this visit the defendant kicked an ashtray off a table which struck Mrs. English. As Mrs. English picked up the ashtray's contents, the defendant "grabbed her and pushed her." Mrs. English yelled that she would not allow him to treat her like that, then threw the ashtray at him. As Mrs. English left her sister's home, the defendant swore and called to her, "I'll fix you."

During this time the victim was in the care of Mrs. English's father, Raymond Fuller. Mr. Fuller testified that before he went to bed at 3:00 a.m., he observed the victim sleeping and pulled the bedclothes about her. Mr. Fuller testified he returned to his own bed and fell asleep. He stated that "sometime later" he was awakened by the defendant walking through the house with a lighted cigarette lighter. Mr. Fuller saw the defendant walking through the victim's bedroom in the direction of the bathroom. As the defendant was a family member and frequent guest in his home, Mr. Fuller did not consider this unusual. Mr. Fuller testified he again fell asleep and did not wake up until 5:00 a.m. when Wanda English returned home and discovered the victim missing.

Charles Durham, who lives in a house adjacent to the Fullers, testified that between 3:45 a.m. and 4:00 a.m., he observed the defendant drive up to the Fuller home and exit his car, leaving the car headlights on and the motor running. Mr. Durham testified that "about five minutes later" he noticed the defendant's car drive away.

When Wanda English could not locate the victim upon her return home at 5:00 a.m., she initiated a search throughout the neighborhood. She observed the defendant in his car, parked with the motor running, in front of a neighboring house, and asked if he had seen the victim. The defendant replied that he had not. Later, when the victim's grandfather asked the defendant if he knew where the victim could be found, the defendant replied "Randy [the victim's father] done it."

In the following days the defendant gave three inconsistent stories concerning where he had been between the hours of 3:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. on September 25. When interviewed by law enforcement officers on September 27, 1983, the defendant stated that he could remember speaking to the victim's grandfather before the victim's disappearance, but he remembered nothing more of what took place at the Fuller residence. The defendant told police that he remembered driving his car, with the victim in his lap, and trying to wake up the victim, "but she would not talk to [him.]" The defendant stated he believed the victim was "mad" because she would not respond to him. The defendant stated he stopped his car and walked "on pavement" with the victim in his arms. The defendant stated he remembered getting back into his car without the victim, but did not remember anything that had occurred in the interim.

The victim's body, clothed only in a pajama top, was discovered in a wooded area on September 26, 1983. An autopsy revealed the victim died as a result of asphyxiation. The victim had sustained a number of bruises and cuts about the left side of her face. There was a tear in the victim's vaginal opening. Based on the size and shape of the tear, the pathologist who performed the autopsy opined that it had been made by "an object more consistent with a penis than other objects." The pathologist stated his opinion that death occurred at approximately 4:30 a.m. on September 25, 1983.

The forensic evidence indicated that several head and pubic hairs consistent with those of the defendant were found on the victim's body. Carpet fibers found on the victim's body were consistent with the fibers of the carpet in the defendant's car.

Crawford v. State, 254 Ga. 435, 436-437, 330 S.E.2d 567 (1985). (footnote omitted).

The Original Trial

The Spalding County Grand Jury indicted Crawford for the murder of Leslie Michelle English during the February Term, 1984. Crawford was tried on February 27 through March 8, 1984, and found guilty as charged in the indictment by a jury in the Superior Court of Spalding County, Georgia on March 7, 1984. On March 8, 1984, Crawford was sentenced to death for the murder.

The First Direct Appeal Proceeding

The Supreme Court of Georgia reversed Crawford’s conviction and sentence on May 31, 1985 in Crawford v. State, 254 Ga. 435, 330 S.E.2d 567 (1985). Specifically, the court found that “kidnapping with bodily injury,” and not mere “kidnapping,” was a statutory aggravating circumstance. Id. at 441.

The Interlocutory Appeal

The Supreme Court of Georgia denied Crawford’s interlocutory appeal of the trial court’s denial of Crawford’s plea of former jeopardy in Crawford v. State, 256 Ga. 57, 344 S.E.2d. 215 (1986). Crawford’s petition for certiorari was denied by the United States Supreme Court in Crawford v. Georgia, 478 U.S. 989 (1986).

The Second Trial

Crawford was reindicted for murder and felony murder in the Superior Court of Spalding County on October 9, 1985. Crawford was retried and convicted of felony murder on February 5, 1987, and was once again sentenced to death on February 6. 1987.

The Second Direct Appeal Proceeding

The Supreme Court of Georgia affirmed Crawford’s conviction and sentence on November 19, 1987. Crawford v. State, 257 Ga. 681, 362 S.E.2d. 201 (1987). Crawford’s motion for reconsideration was denied by the Supreme Court of Georgia on December 16, 1987. Crawford’s petition for a writ of certiorari was denied by the United States Supreme Court on February 21, 1989. Crawford v. Georgia, 489 U.S. 1040 (1989). Crawford’s motion for rehearing was denied on April 24, 1989. Crawford v. Georgia, 490 U.S. 1042 (1989).

State Habeas Corpus Petition

Crawford, represented by Michael Mears and Elizabeth J. Vila, filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the Superior Court of Butts County, Georgia, on August 20, 1990. After an evidentiary hearing conducted on July 31, 1992, the state habeas corpus court denied Crawford state habeas corpus relief on May 21, 1993. Crawford’s application for a certificate of probable cause filed in the Supreme Court of Georgia was denied on November 24, 1993, and Crawford’s motion for reconsideration was denied on or about December 7, 1993. Crawford’s petition for a writ of certiorari was denied by the United States Supreme Court on April 24, 1995 in Crawford v. Zant, 514 U.S. 1082 (1995). On June 12, 1995, Crawford’s petition for rehearing was denied. Crawford v. Zant, 515 U.S. 1137 (1995).

Federal Habeas Corpus Petition

Crawford filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Newnan Division, on April 23, 1997. An evidentiary hearing was conducted on March 31, 1999. The district court dismissed various claims raised by Crawford in preliminary orders of May 6, 1999 and May 19, 1999. After the filing of substantive briefs on behalf of the parties, the federal habeas corpus court entered its initial order denying relief to Crawford on February 22, 2000. This order was amended on March 2, 2000. The federal district court denied a motion to alter or amend judgment on December 7, 2000. On or about January 8, 2001, Crawford filed an application for a certificate of probable cause to appeal. On April 2, 2001, the United States District Court granted a Certificate of Appealability with respect to his ineffective assistance of counsel claim.

Appeal to the Eleventh Circuit

On or around April 25, 2001, Crawford filed a motion to expand the Certificate of Appealability. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit granted this motion in part on May 25, 2001. Oral argument was held on June 10, 2002. On November 12, 2002, the Eleventh Circuit issued an opinion which denied relief. Crawford v. Head, 311 F.3d 1288 (11th Cir. 2002). Crawford filed a petition for panel rehearing on January 17, 2003, which was denied on February 11, 2003. Crawford filed a petition for writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court on August 11, 2003. The United States Supreme Court denied certiorari on October 14, 2003. Crawford filed a petition for rehearing in the United States Supreme Court on November 10, 2003, which was denied on December 8, 2003.

Extraordinary Motion for New Trial and for Post-Conviction DNA Testing

Crawford filed an Extraordinary Motion for New Trial and for Post-Conviction DNA Testing in the Superior Court of Spalding County on 10/15/03. The Superior Court of Spalding County denied his motion for DNA testing on 11/21/03. Crawford then filed a petition for rehearing in the Superior Court of Spalding County, which was denied on 12/2/03. The Superior Court of Spalding County entered an execution order setting Crawford’s execution for 12/10/03. Crawford filed a Notice of Appeal regarding the denial of his extraordinary motion for new trial and for post-conviction DNA testing, Motion for Stay of Execution, and a Brief in Support in the Georgia Supreme Court on 12/5/03. The Georgia Supreme Court entered an order staying Crawford’s execution and granting his application to appeal on 12/10/03. An oral argument was held in the Georgia Supreme Court on 3/8/04. On 6/7/04, the Georgia Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s denial of Crawford’s motion for further DNA testing in that “even assuming the reality of the DNA testing results Crawford has hypothesized, such results would not in reasonable probability have led to Crawford’s acquittal, or to his receiving a sentence less than death, if they had been available at Crawford’s trial.” Crawford v. State, No. S04A0589 (Sup. Ct. Ga. June 7, 2004). The Georgia Supreme Court also lifted its previously entered stay of execution. Crawford filed a Motion for Reconsideration, which was denied on June 28, 2004.