Victims of the State

Alvin Craig - See Hess & Craig

Dauphin County, PA

Steven Crawford

Sept 12, 1970

Steven Crawford was convicted in 1974 of murdering his neighbor and best friend, John Eddie Mitchell. Crawford was 14 and Mitchell was 13 at the time of the crime. Mitchell left home to turn in money he collected from his paper route. He was later bludgeoned to death. His body was found the next day under a car in a detached garage belonging to Crawford's parents. Crawford's family lived on the 2300 block of North Fifth Street in Harrisburg.

Crawford's handprints were found on the blood splashed car in the garage, but state police chemist Janice Roadcap gave false testimony implying that Crawford had the victim's blood on his hands when he left the prints. The handprints were the only physical evidence linking him to the murder. The trial judge called it the “linchpin” of the case. In Oct. 2001, a defense investigator found a photocopy of Roadcap's original notes, which exonerated Crawford. Crawford was granted a new trial based on the notes, but the Commonwealth declined to retry him. Crawford was released after serving 28 years of imprisonment. Roadcap was a chemist for the state police from 1967 until her retirement in 1991, handling cases in 18 counties from the State Police crime lab in Harrisburg.  (Archives) (AIDWYC)  [4/08]

James Creamer - See Marietta Seven

Queens County, NY

Alice Crimmins

July 14, 1965

Alice Crimmins was suspected of abduction murders of her son, Eddie, and daughter, Missy, in part because the investigator thought she did not show “proper” grief. Some also thought Crimmins was too interested in her appearance. The murders occurred on July 14, 1965 and the case became a tabloid sensation. Police wiretapped her phone and were treated to titillating talk with her many sweethearts. However, the tapes did not reveal any conspiracy with others. The murders would have required at least two accomplices. Police waged a campaign of harassment to break her. They called up Crimmins' employers and repeatedly got her fired. They also called her estranged husband when she was with another man. The husband chased one of her paramours outside without giving him a chance to get his clothes.

Crimmins was eventually convicted of the murder of her son Eddie, and the manslaughter of her daughter because of the memories of witnesses, which grew over time. One witness claimed to hear normal speaking voices from two hundred feet away. The prosecution alleged Crimmins killed her daughter because she intruded on her and her lover when they were having sex, and then killed her son because he learned about the killing of his sister. Crimmins was paroled in 1977.  (Crime Library)  [5/07]

Montgomery County, TX 

Roy Criner

Sept 27, 1986

Roy Wayne Criner was charged with aggravated sexual assault when prosecutors lacked the evidence to prove a charge of murder against him in the rape and murder of Deanna Ogg. Criner was convicted on shaky evidence and sentenced to 99 years. DNA tests of recovered semen exonerated Criner in 1997, but in 1998, an appeals court insisted on upholding his conviction on the prosecution theory that there could have been an unindicted co-ejaculator. Gov. George Bush pardoned Criner in 2000.  (IP) (TruthInJustice) (CWC)  [3/06]

Macomb County, MI 

Cristini & Moldowan

Aug 9, 1990 (Warren)

Michael Cristini and Jeffrey Moldowan were convicted of the kidnapping and rape of Moldowan's ex-girlfriend, Maureen Fournier. Two other men identified by Fournier were not prosecuted. Dr. Allan Warnick, a forensic odontologist, testified that bite marks on Fournier's body had come from both defendants. Both defendants had alibis and Fournier's medical exam indicated neither that she was raped nor did it detect the presence of sperm. Cristini was sentenced to 44 to 60 years of imprisonment while Moldowan was sentenced to four terms of 60 to 90 years. Warnick's bite mark testimony was later discredited, leading to retrials in 2003 and 2004, at which both defendants were acquitted.  (JD) (Jim Fisher) (Appeals)  [9/05]

 Cook County, IL

Algie Crivens

Apr 15, 1989

Algie Crivens III was convicted of murdering Cornelius “Corndog” Lyons. Lyons was shot in the parking lot of a Jewel Food Store located at 11414 S. Halsted St. in Chicago. Two eyewitnesses identified Crivens. A prison inmate, who heard another man, Marcus Williams, confess to the crime, was not allowed to testify at Lyons's trial. Later another witness came forward who had seen Williams shoot Lyons. State courts would not provide relief, but a Federal Court intervened. On retrial, Crivens won a directed verdict of acquittal. Gov. Ryan also pardoned Crivens, qualifying him for automatic compensation for wrongful imprisonment.  (CWC)  [7/05]

Middlesex County, NJ

McKinley Cromedy

Aug 28, 1992

McKinley Cromedy was convicted of raping and robbing a 20-year-old Rutgers University student. The crime occurred in the victim's New Brunswick apartment. The victim viewed a photographic array that included Cromedy a few days after the rape but did not pick him out. Seven months later, while walking in New Brunswick, she saw Cromedy carrying a boom box and called police to report him as the rapist. None of the forensic evidence found on the victim matched Cromedy. DNA tests exonerated him after he served 5 years of a 60-year sentence.  (IP)  [5/05]

Oliver Cromwell - See Stain & Cromwell

 Hillsborough County, FL

Alan Crotzer

July 8, 1981 (Tampa)

Alan Crotzer and his alleged accomplices were convicted of robbing a Tampa family at gunpoint and of kidnapping and raping a 38-year-old woman and her 12-year-old daughter. A victim picked Crotzer out of a photo lineup. An alleged accomplice said Crotzer was innocent. In 2006, after 24 years of imprisonment, Crotzer was freed. DNA tests showed he was innocent.  (AP News) (IP) (JD)  [9/06]

Siskiyou County, CA

Patrick Croy

July 17, 1978 (Yreka)

Patrick Eugene “Hooty” Croy was sentenced to death for the murder of Bo Hittson, a Yreka police officer. A weekend of partying led to an ill-fated shoot-out between police and a group of Native Americans, including Croy. Croy was convicted of attempted robbery, conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder, assault, and the murder of the police officer.

In 1985, the California Supreme Court overturned most of Croy's convictions. The Court found that the trial judge had read the wrong instructions to the jury, allowing the jury to convict Croy of robbery even if he did not intend to steal. Because the murder conviction was based on the theory that Croy had intentionally committed a robbery that had caused the officer's death, the murder conviction was reversed.

At retrial in 1990, Croy's defense presented evidence that Croy acted in self-defense during the shoot-out, including evidence that Croy himself was shot twice during the altercation, expert testimony regarding the antagonistic relationship between law enforcement and local Native Americans at the time of the crime, and that Officer Hittson had a blood alcohol level of .07 at his time of death. Croy was acquitted of all charges for which he was tried, based on self-defense. The trial court entered a finding that, if the conspiracy and assault charges had been included in the retrial, Croy would have been acquitted of them as well. Croy was resentenced on these charges and was released on parole.

In 1997, Croy violated parole and was given an indeterminate life sentence. In 2005, Croy's original conspiracy and assault convictions were also overturned. The state decided not to appeal and Croy was freed in Mar. 2005. He had served 19 years in prison, 7 of them on death row.  (85) (Info)  [6/08]

Willie Crutcher - See Guntersville Four

Maricopa County, AZ

Robert Charles Cruz

Dec 31, 1980 (Phoenix)

Robert Charles Cruz was sentenced to death for the contract murders of two people.  Patrick Redmond, 46, and his mother-in-law, Helen G. Phelps, 70, had been shot to death by three men in Redmond's home. The assailants also shot Redmond's wife, Marilyn, but she survived. Cruz had allegedly hired three men to kill Redmond because he wished to take over Redmond's print shop, Graphic Dimensions. Prosecutors said Cruz wanted to use the firm to launder money from connections in Las Vegas.

The evidence against Cruz came from a felon who received immunity from prosecution in return for his testimony. On appeal, the Arizona Supreme Court held that the trial court had demonstrated actual prejudice against Cruz, and that the conviction could not stand. Two subsequent retrials ended in hung juries, but a fourth trial ended again in a conviction and a death sentence. Once again, however, the Arizona Supreme Court found the conviction to be faulty and sent the case back for a fifth trial. At this new trial, new evidence emerged about the prosecutors' pressuring of witnesses and offering deals. The fifth trial jury heard the whole story and acquitted Cruz of all charges.  (State v. Cruz)  [7/05]

DuPage County, IL

Cruz & Hernandez

Feb 25, 1983

Rolando Cruz and Alejandro Hernandez were sentenced to death for the kidnapping, rape, and murder of 10-year-old Jeanine Nicarico. The case against Cruz was built on the testimony of two detectives who said that Cruz had told them about a “vision” he had, and that he had accurately described facts of the crime. The detectives had never taken notes about this supposed “vision,” had not arrested Cruz based on it, and had never told anyone about it for more than 18 months. Nonetheless, based on this evidence and testimony from some jailhouse informants, Cruz was convicted.

Several months after the conviction, a man named Brian Dugan was arrested for a similar rape and murder of a little girl. In the course of plea negotiations, Dugan told the authorities that he had committed several murders – including the one for which Cruz and Hernandez were on death row – and he provided accurate and detailed facts about each crime.

Cruz was given a new trial, but his lawyers were not allowed to inform the jury about all of the compelling evidence proving that Dugan had acted alone in raping and murdering the girl. The prosecution presented the testimony of a new group of jailhouse informants, one of whom claimed that Cruz admitted to doing the crime with Dugan. A jury again convicted Cruz and he was again sentenced to death. This conviction, too, was later overturned. Before Cruz's third trial, DNA tests excluded Cruz and Hernandez as the rapists, and implicated Dugan. During the third trial, a lieutenant in the Sheriff's Department took the stand and admitted that he had lied when he corroborated the other detectives' testimony about the “vision” statement. The trial judge entered a directed verdict of not guilty before the defense ever put on its case and Cruz was freed in 1995. Hernandez was also freed.

In 1996, prosecutors Thomas Knight, Robert Kilander, and Patrick King, along with four sheriff's detectives, were criminally charged with conspiring to convict Cruz and Hernandez by fabricating evidence and withholding exculpatory evidence. All were acquitted in 1999. In 2000, Cruz, Hernandez, and a third defendant prosecuted for the same crime won a $3.5 million settlement from the county. The case is the subject of a 1998 book, Victims of Justice.  (CWC1) (CWC2) (IP1) (IP2) (CBJ) (JP)  [7/05]

Whitfield County, GA 

Wayne Cservak

Convicted 1997 (Dalton)

Wayne Cservak was convicted of molesting his girlfriend's 13-year-old-son. The boy testified that Cservak had molested him night after night for almost two weeks. He said the sexual assaults happened regularly between 3 and 4 a.m. as he slept on the living room sofa. One juror, Jim Thomas, thought the boy's testimony seemed contrived. The boy stated he was sleeping on the sofa because he thought there were ghosts in his room. Then he said he was in the living room because his mother had rented out his room for a week to a cousin. Testimony revealed that investigators had already caught the boy in one lie. The boy's attitude also gave Thomas pause. When asked why he didn't immediately report the allegations, the boy wisecracked, “Go figure.” In contrast to the boy's testimony, Thomas felt that Cservak's testimony was real and believable.

However, despite believing Cservak innocent, Thomas was eventually browbeaten into convicting him after eight grueling hours of jury deliberation. Thomas spoke at Cservak's sentencing hearing and his testimony helped convince the judge to give Cservak only 10 years out of a possible 100-year sentence. Then Thomas spent thousands of dollars hiring an attorney to appeal Cservak's case. During the appeal process, the boy recanted his story and told prosecutors that he had lied. Apparently, the boy's mother and Cservak were talking about marrying and the boy did not like that idea. Cservak was incarcerated for close to a year.  (Justice: Denied)  [10/08]

 Ontario, Canada

Cumberland Four

Jan 16, 1990 (Cumberland)

Robert Stewart, Richard Mallory, Richard Trudel, and James Sauvé were convicted of the murders of 24-year-old Michel Giroux and his 27-year-old pregnant common-law wife, Manon Bourdeau. The victims were shot to death at their home on Queen Street in the Ottawa suburb of Cumberland. Stewart and Trudel were distribution-level drug dealers while Mallory and Sauvé were their enforcers. Giroux was a retail-level drug dealer. According to the Crown, Giroux owed money to Stewart and Stewart ordered his killing as an example to other drug dealers who owed him money.
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Coal County, OK 

Jessie James Cummings

Sept 5, 1991

Jessie James Cummings was executed for the murders of his sister and his niece. Cummings claimed that at the time of the murders he was over a hundred miles away in Oklahoma City. He said his ex-wives, Juanita and Sherry Cummings, shot and killed his sister, Judy Ann Moody Mayo, and killed his niece, 11-year-old Melissa Marie Moody. This case was open and unsolved from September 1991 until July 1994. Cummings was executed for the crimes on Sept. 25, 2008.  (IIPPI)

Walla Walla County, WA

Susan Cummings

June 24, 1983 (Walla Walla)

Susan Cummings was convicted of the murder of her friend and neighbor, 88-year-old Christine Zacharias. Zacharias, a Russian immigrant, lived in Walla Walla and had befriended 16-year-old Cummings. After her conviction, two prosecution informants, Joe Aguilar and Lillie Rowland, retracted their identification of her. Witnesses said Rowland had not been in Walla Walla on the the night of the killing and could not know anything about it. Gov. Gary Locke pardoned Cummings in 2004.  (Seattle PI)  [10/05]

Escambia County, AL

Dewayne Cunningham

Aug 20, 1995 (Flomaton)

Dewayne Scott Cunningham was convicted of rape after the victim identified him while he was handcuffed in the back of a police car. Such a “show-up” identification is considered less reliable than lineup or photo lineup identifications. The victim gave a written statement that her assailant as “not tall,” only a couple of inches taller than her own 5'4" frame. Cunningham is 6' tall. The victim also estimated his age at between 30 and 40 years old; Cunningham was 26 at the time. There is also a question of motive. The victim was female, but Cunningham is an apparent homosexual. He worked as a male prostitute and reports that he has a “husband” in prison. Alabama does not allow for post-conviction DNA tests of crime evidence, and as of 2006, Cunningham has filed a federal lawsuit in Mobile to gain access to the evidence for such tests.  (Press-Register)  [3/07]

Cherokee County, TX 

Curbow & Strickland

1938 (Bullard)

Samuel Curbow and J. C. Strickland were convicted of robbing Mr. and Mrs. Ben Pritchard at their gas station in Bullard, TX. The Pritchards identified the two as the men who robbed them. Following the defendants' convictions it was determined that robbery suspects in Oklahoma admitted robbing a gas station in Texas. The suspects did not know the name of the town in which the gas station was located, only that it was somewhere near Jackson. When the Pritchards were brought to Oklahoma, they identified the suspects as the robbers. Governor Lee O'Daniels subsequently pardoned Curbow and Strickland in April 1940.  (The Innocents)  [7/09]

 Hartford County, CT

Michael Cyr

Feb 28, 2005 (Manchester)

While intoxicated, Michael Cyr had remotely started his car and sat in the driver's seat with the driver's side door open. He was subsequently arrested for “driving while intoxicated,” although he never drove the car, nor did he put keys in the ignition. After unsuccessfully trying to dismiss the charge, Cyr made a conditional no contest plea to the charge, which allowed him to challenge it later. He was sentenced three years imprisonment with two of the years suspended, three years probation, and a $2000 fine. In 2007, an appeals court reviewed the conviction. It noted that the state had produced no evidence that Cyr had the car's ignition keys on him or that Cyr's car was capable of motion without the keys. It then reversed the conviction, citing insufficient evidence that Cyr was operating a motor vehicle under the meaning of the Connecticut “driving while intoxicated” statute.  (State v. Cyr)  [1/08]