(NEW YORK) — Cops intent on questioning an ex-con about two 1993 cold case murders of women stumbled upon the alleged serial killer’s latest victim, a woman found stabbed to death just hours earlier in his Mount Vernon, N.Y., apartment.
Lucius Crawford, a 60-year-old parolee who has spent half his life in prison for violent crimes against women, later confessed to stabbing the woman repeatedly and also admitted killing the two other women, police said.
“He admitted that he has an anger issue. That he did in fact murder this young lady and he has in fact done this in the past,” Mount Vernon Police Commissioner Carl Bell told reporters.
New York City police along with cops from Yonkers, N.Y., wanted to interview Crawford about the 1993 slayings of a Bronx prostitute and another woman in Yonkers. They arrived at his home on Tuesday afternoon.
When detectives entered Crawford’s Mount Vernon home they discovered under a sheet on the suspect’s bed the body of a 41-year-old woman, who had been stabbed nine times in the chest, police said. Inside Crawford’s home, police also discovered he had removed his parole tracking ankle bracelet.
The detectives notified the Mount Vernon police and Crawford was captured about three hours later.
The identity of the woman found on Crawford’s bed has not been released.
Police were at Crawford’s house because DNA evidence linked Crawford to the 1993 slaying of Nell West in the Bronx borough of New York City. She had been stabbed multiple times in the head, face, and torso, as well as having her skull crushed, said NYPD spokesman Paul Browne.
Police said that they were put on Crawford’s trail when an NYPD detective reactivated the West homicide after he discussed the case with a retired detective who had originally investigated the homicide in 1993.
As a result of that conversation, Detective Christopher Boerke of the 50th Detective Squad collaborated with Detective Malcolm Reiman of Bronx Homicide and ran biological evidence from the 1993 crime against the current DNA data base.A match surfaced that identified Crawford as a possible suspect.
NYPD detectives also learned that Crawford was the subject of a cold case murder investigation into the 1993 murder of Laronda Shealy in Yonkers. As a result, Yonkers and NYPD detectives cooperated, with the NYPD planning to take Crawford into custody, question him in the Bronx case and then turn him over to Yonkers detectives.
Authorities said Crawford has lived in the Mount Vernon apartment for about a year, and has spent 30 years in prisons in New York and South Carolina, all for crimes against women, many of them involving stabbings.
His rap sheet is long and gruesome. In incidents spanning three decades he is accused of stalking women, both strangers and acquaintances, slashing and stabbing them. In 1977, he attacked five women over the course of five days.
In 1995, he was convicted of stabbing a female co-worker and sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison. In 2006, he told a parole board he attacked women in because of “the way they act” and agreed that he believed it was the women who had “provoked” him.
He was released in 2008 and was on parole.
Mount Vernon police informed cops on Long Island about Crawford’s arrest and history of violence against women. Cops there are investigating a series of murders of women, whose bodies were dumped over several years on the secluded Gilgo Beach.
However, a Suffolk spokesman told ABC News “at this point in time there is no reason to suspect that Crawford has any involvement with the homicides that occurred in the last several years where bodies were discovered in vicinity of Gilgo Beach.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Theodore Schleifer, CNN
Tricia Escobedo, Ashley Strickland and John Zarrella, CNN
Chris Isidore, CNN