As I mentioned a few days ago, I was a juror on a trial. That trial was the State of North Carolina vs Shannon Crawley in the unlawful death of Denita Smith on 04-Jan-2007.
Miss Smith’s fiancee, Jermier Stroud, was implicated by the defendant. Mr Stroud is a police officer in Greensboro. Under oath, and in his previously-sworn statements, he showed himself to be a scuz-ball. Simultaneously dating Denita (for 7 years) and Shannon (for 1.5 years in the middle of the time he was “with” Denita, and culminating in a pregnancy). Under oath he admitted that he never planned to tell either girl about the other. Under oath he showed himself to be untrustworthy, a “player”, a liar, and just a general “bad guy”.
He also said that within a couple months of Denita’s murder he was dating again.
However, as bad an individual as we all believe Mr Stroud to be, he could not have been at Denita’s apartment on either 03-Jan or 04-Jan, as Miss Crawley claimed – whereas she was at the apartment the day before (I think to “scope it out”), and admits to being there on the morning of 04-Jan. She claimed that Jermier had kidnapped her to Durham both days – but multiple incoming and outgoing cell phone calls place him in or near Greensboro on the third. With those, and many other, holes in her story, we found Miss Crawley to be guilty of murder in the first degree of Miss Smith.
None of us wanted to find her guilty. I believe we all wanted to believe her: we wanted someone like Mr Stroud to be punished for what he had contributed. However, as the evidence was presented and reviewed, that conclusion was not possible.
I personally think that he’s responsible for the death of his fiancee – he did several things that I think should disqualify him at least as a police officer (reliability, lying, trustworthiness) – I do not believe he was the one who pulled the trigger. I think he was the causative factor in Miss Crawley’s crime, but causative factors do not alleviate her of guilt in the actual crime.
I’m sure this will be appealed.
I hope Mr Stroud is brought out of his place of service to the community for having acted in such ways. However, regardless of his contributions to the crime, Miss Crawley still had a choice until the moment she pulled the trigger – and did not opt to stop.