A 61-year-old man who has already spent half his life in prison for knife attacks on women stabbed his girlfriend to death out of jealousy two years ago and fatally knifed a prostitute two decades earlier because "he just didn't care," a prosecutor said Monday.
Lucius Crawford, of Mount Vernon, is charged with killing Tonya Simmons in his apartment in 2012 and Laronda Shealy in a drug-ridden Yonkers housing project in 1993.
Besides those two murder charges, he faces a separate murder trial in the Bronx in another woman's stabbing death in 1993.
Crawford's arrest came in December 2012 when detectives went looking for him in connection with the two cold cases. Coincidentally, he called 911 the same day to report Simmons' killing. Authorities found her body, with more than 30 stab wounds, in his bed.
Westchester County prosecutor Paula Branca-Santos said in her opening statement that Crawford confessed to both killings and some of the statements were videotaped.
In transcripts released last year, Crawford said he stabbed women for no reason, usually while high and after having sex.
"Something just came over me and I stabbed them," Crawford was quoted as saying. "I have a demon inside me and I just snap."
Branca-Santos said jurors would hear Crawford talk about getting angry at Simmons for seeing someone else.
"He was jealous," she said. "He didn't want her to walk away from him. ... If he couldn't have her no one else could have her."
After calling 911 about Simmons' death, Crawford lurked nearby "to see how everything unfolded. To see what had happened at his hand," the prosecutor said. He was captured a few hours later.
In killing Shealy in 1993, she said, Crawford "just didn't care. ... She was a prostitute who was addicted to crack. He lost it. He stabbed her."
Before and after that killing, Crawford spent about 30 years in prison for non-fatal stabbings of women in New York and South Carolina. Jurors won't hear about those attacks or the Bronx killing.
On Monday, the grey-bearded Crawford listened calmly to the lawyers.
His attorney, Angelo MacDonald, suggested that if Crawford killed Simmons, it was without the "actual intent" needed to satisfy the murder charge. And he said there would be "overwhelming reasonable doubt" in the Shealy killing.
The defense lawyer also asked jurors to pay close attention to Crawford on the police recordings — to his vocabulary, pronunciation, thought processes and intelligence.
MacDonald previously suggested that Crawford has a low IQ, although he was found competent for trial.
The prosecutor said Crawford was smart enough to misguide police and take steps to cover his tracks.
Simmons' cousin, Elizabeth Thompson of the Bronx, attended Monday's court session and said outside the courtroom, "Murder is murder. That man knew what he was doing."