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Man Confesses to Bronx and Yonkers Cold Case Murders, Police Say

By Mary Johnson | December 5, 2012 6:41pm | Updated on December 5, 2012 6:59pm
 Lucius Crawford, 60, was arrested Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, after police found a dead woman in his bed.
Lucius Crawford, 60, was arrested Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012, after police found a dead woman in his bed.
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Department of Correction

NEW YORK — A 60-year-old ex-con has confessed to committing two cold case murders from 1993, including the stabbing of a Riverdale woman nearly two decades ago — and police found another dead woman in his bed this week, officials said.

Police investigating the cold case killings recently zeroed in on Lucius Crawford, a Mount Vernon resident with a lengthy criminal record who spent 13 years in prison for attempted murder and had been on parole since 2008.

When police entered his home on Beekman Avenue about 1 p.m. Tuesday, they found the body of a 41-year-old woman who had been stabbed nine times in the chest lying under a sheet on his bed, according to Paul Browne, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner for public information.

Crawford’s parole tracking ankle bracelet had been cast off inside the apartment, Browne added.

Crawford was arrested three hours later and charged with killing the 41-year-old woman, who was not immediately identified.

Police said he confessed to the crime and also admitted killing two women in 1993. Charges have not yet been filed in those two cases.

In one, Nella West, 38, was stabbed multiple times in the head, face and torso Oct. 20, 1993, and was found in Riverdale with a broken eye socket and a crushed skull, Browne said.

The other victim, Laronda Shealy, was stabbed to death about a month earlier in Yonkers.

The investigation into West's death was reopened after two detectives from The Bronx ran biological evidence from the case through the current DNA database.

Crawford, who has a history of violent attacks on women dating back to 1973, emerged from that search as a possible suspect.

NYPD detectives have since notified Suffolk County police about Crawford’s arrest because of the string of murdered women found on Long Island in recent years.

It was not immediately clear if there was any connection between the 1993 murders and the Long Island crimes.