Lucius Crawford, N.Y. man charged in one murder, now accused of two more

Lucius Crawford
Mount Vernon Police Department via CBS New York

(CBS/AP) WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. - A man recently accused of killing a woman 20 years ago has now been indicted in the fatal stabbings of two others, prosecutors said Thursday.

Lucius Crawford, 60, has spent 30 years in prison for nonfatal stabbings in New York and North Carolina going back to the 1970s.

Crawford has been charged with two counts of murder and two counts of criminal weapon possession in the killings that took place last month - while he was out on parole -  and in 1993, the Westchester district attorney's office said Thursday.

Crawford was indicted last month in the murder of 38-year-old Nella West, whose body was found in the Bronx in 1993.

When Crawford was arrested, Mount Vernon police Commissioner Carl Bell said he "focuses his attacks on young women. He befriends them and at some point he ends up either attacking them or killing them."

Crawford's lawyer, Angelo MacDonald, said he would challenge the charges.

"There might be an issue with his mental state, regarding the statements he made," MacDonald said.

Police said last month that Crawford confessed to the three killings but MacDonald said he was denying at least some of them.

In the most recent case, Crawford is accused of killing 41-year-old Tonya Simmons on Dec. 4. Her body was found in Crawford's Mount Vernon apartment by officers from Yonkers and New York City who were looking for Crawford, who was on parole, in connection with two cold-case killings. A recent DNA match had linked Crawford to those killings, police said.

When police found the body in his apartment, they also found his electronic monitoring ankle bracelet, which had been cut off, authorities said. He was captured three hours later.

The new indictment charges Crawford with the stabbing death of 23-year-old Learonda Shealy of Yonkers in 1993.

Crawford's arraignment on the new charges is scheduled for Monday.

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