Local News

Suspect in NCCU student's death blames fiance

Posted February 10, 2010

— A Greensboro police officer killed a North Carolina Central University graduate student more than three years ago, the attorney for the woman accused of the crime said Wednesday as her trial began.

Shannon Elizabeth Crawley, 28, of Greensboro, is charged with murder in the Jan. 4, 2007, shooting death of Denita Monique Smith.

Grad student killed in love triangle

Smith, 25, was shot in the head at Campus Crossing Apartments in Durham and fell down a stairwell to the sidewalk, where a maintenance man found her body, police said.

Police arrested Crawley, a dispatcher for Guilford Metro 911 in Greensboro, five days later.

Durham County Chief Assistant District Attorney David Saacks said in his opening statement that Crawley had a previous relationship with Jermeir Stroud, a Greensboro police officer engaged to Smith, and that she wouldn't let go.

Crawley drove to Smith's apartment complex the day before the shooting to scout it out and then returned early the next morning, where she ambushed Smith and shot her in the back of the head, Saacks told jurors.

The maintenance man saw Crawley pulling out of the complex parking lot after the shooting and said she was crying, Saacks said.

Defense attorney Scott Holmes put the same scene in a different light during his opening statement. He said Crawley feared for her safety around Stroud, whom he called manipulative and controlling.

Stroud and Crawley drove together to Durham the day before Smith was killed so they could discuss their relationship, Holmes said. The pair returned to the apartment complex the next morning, and Crawley heard Stroud arguing with someone as she sat in the SUV, the attorney told jurors.

After Crawley heard a gunshot, Stroud ran back to the SUV and jumped in the back, Holmes said. He was hiding there when the maintenance man stopped Crawley to ask about the gunshot, Holmes said.

Superior Court Judge Ronald Stephens ruled Wednesday that Crawley's statements to police that she had an abortion before she and Stroud broke up and her claim that he raped her more than a year after Smith's death may be admitted as evidence in the trial.

Several members of Smith's family were in court Wednesday, wearing pins with her picture on them.

28 Comments

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  • Tired Of Excuses Feb 12, 2010

    How would Crawley know where Smith lived unless one of two things happened.
    1. She followed Smith home one evening.
    2. Stroud showed Crawley where Smith lived.
    Where did she get the gun? Has that been addressed? Was it hers or did our upstanding GBO LEO get it for her?

    If Stroud was directly involved then Crawley should have said something from the get go when she was arrested. She may have been afraid of him because let's face it she interacted with GBO PD on a regular basis and probably knows most of them. You go against of of them and you're life could be made to be pretty miserable. But personal judgement has to come in here SOMEWHERE. If she knew the plan she shouldn't have gone with him to drive the getaway SUV or should have called Durham PD who could have set Stroud up and gotten to him before Smith was murdered.
    She FAILED and now it's time to be held accountable.
    As for home boy, shame on him for playing two women and someone buy the man some condoms.

  • findoutthefacts Feb 11, 2010

    "How SICK is our judicial system? It all rest on "who the victim is". humbleblaklady

    So...do you want to clarify what you meant by that?

  • vsusu2002 Feb 11, 2010

    Personally this thing is looking like a preview of and episode on Lifetime or Snapped.

    You are so right (more a story on Snapped). I am glad the ball is rolling in this case. Ms. Smith's family needs closure as to why this happened to their loved one.

  • ladyblue Feb 10, 2010

    Defense attorney Scott Holmes put the same scene in a different light during his opening statement. He said Crawley feared for her safety around Stroud, whom he called manipulative and controlling.

    Makes no sense when they were riding around together the day before. IMO if you are afraid of someone you don't go and scout out their house and then come back the next day. You'd be too afraid of them seeing you and coming after you if youare scared of them........This person has a poor excuse......She needs life for this...........

  • Dotherightthing Feb 10, 2010

    Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty. In today's time anything is possible. As for as the defense attorney is concerned he is doing what he is paid to do and that is to get his client off. Like it or not that is what he is paid to do! Personally this thing is looking like a preview of and episode on Lifetime or Snapped.

  • humbleblaklady Feb 10, 2010

    " have been in jail for 3 years, lots of time to think)" --in2horses

    Hate to break it to you in2horses; but this woman has NOT BEEN in jail since after the 1st year. She bailed out and has been around. That's how (and why) she's claiming the cop "supposedly" raped her within the past 2 years. How SICK is our judicial system? It all rest on "who the victim is".

  • delilahk2000 Feb 10, 2010

    DARK-HORSE, YES I DID READ THE STORY, DID YOU??

  • issymayake Feb 10, 2010

    Hans,

    I don't know if she's guilty; but I know he didn't kill that girl. He and I have talked in-depth about it.

  • Hans Feb 10, 2010

    Cop wants out of his impending marriage... has an obsessed ex not willing to let go... two birds with one stone. The perfect crime. No one posting here has any knowledge of the evidence, and no one posting here has any idea whether she is guilty or not. Stop letting the media control your thoughts.

  • bcnc Feb 10, 2010

    Who came up with this defense?? And they wonder why most people don't like/trust/respect lawyers.

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