Suspect In Crofton Woman's Slaying Held Without Bail

Police Say Man Confessed To Strangling Criswell, 42

September 19, 1990|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff writer

A 29-year-old Davidsonville man charged with strangling a Crofton woman and dumping her body behind a library was ordered held without bail yesterday.

Steven Gregory Anderson, of the 1100 block of Old Davidsonville Road, was charged Monday night with killing Gwyn Dixon Criswell, 42, of the 1500 block Eversham Place.

Police searched six hours Monday for Criswell's body in Crofton Park. The body was found behind a library in Crofton Square near the intersection of Routes 3 and 424.

Police say they have no motive for the slaying and won't comment about evidence from the scene of the slaying.

Anderson, who also has been charged with armed robbery and theft, had been released earlier this year from jail after serving a five-year sentence for a string of breaking and enterings in 1985.

The charging document filed in court Tuesday says Anderson at first denied any knowledge of Criswell or her car, then confessed to killing her and dumping her body in a wooded area near Route 424.

Police will not release information about Criswell's body, but the charging document says she was found lying partially nude. The document also says Criswell had been strangled with a cord. The body was discovered near an abandoned farm adjacent to the shopping center.

Criswell apparently was abducted near the Crofton Library after stopping at an automatic teller machine at 10:23 a.m. From there, she was supposed to go the Basics Warehouse food store, but probably didn't make it, police spokesman V. Richard Molloy said.

The charging document says store employees who knew Criswell did not see her Sunday. Criswell's husband, Theodore, reported her missing to Crofton police when she did not return home by 4:15 p.m.

Anderson was taken into custody Sunday at 9:30 p.m. after a police officer in Annapolis found him with Criswell's car, a white Plymouth Sundance. The car was parked between a Merchant Tire Center and an adult book store on West Street in Annapolis.

An hour earlier, a victim of an armed robbery gave police a description matching Criswell's car and Anderson, charging documents say.

The officer saw Anderson walk out of the book store and toward the car. When Anderson saw the officer, he passed the car and went into Shamrock Liquors, where he bought a soda, court documents say.

He was detained upon leaving the store. Court documents say police found a .25-caliber semiautomatic handgun under the front seat.

Sgt. Thomas Suit, head of the county police homicide division, said police have found evidence "that puts the defendant with the car," but would not elaborate.

Suit also said that in 1985, while Anderson was in custody facing breaking and entering charges, he confessed to a killing in Shady Side. He said Anderson "was developed as a suspect" in that murder, but further evidence showed he was not involved.

During his brief hearing in District Court yesterday, Anderson said he lived off his mother and that he'd never held a job.

Anderson was assigned to the public defender's office. A date for a preliminary hearing has not been set.

Anderson also is scheduled for a trial in December on charges that he stole a woman's purse this month from a car in Cumberland Court, a housing community in Annapolis.

In August, prosecutors dropped charges of threatening arson and trespassing on private property. A clerk at District Court said she could not find the file on this case.

Anderson pleaded guilty in 1985 to five counts of breaking and entering in homes in Edgewater. As part of a plea bargain, nine counts of breaking and entering were dropped, Molloy said.

While Anderson was out on bail on the breaking and entering charges, he escaped twice from hospital officials. In July 1985, he was taken to Crownsville State Hospital after suffering from a self-inflicted arm wound, court documents say.

While at the hospital, he jumped out of a second-story window and escaped. He was caught the next day, complained of injuries suffered in the fall, and was brought to Anne Arundel County General Hospital. While there, he escaped from a nurse and ran to downtown Annapolis, the documents say.

After he was caught -- court documents do not say when -- he was ordered held without bail. He was sentenced to 6 years in prison after pleading guilty to the breaking and entering charges and served five years. The escape charges were dropped.

Molloy said a condition of his release from jail was that he see a parole officer on a regular basis. But Molloy said he is not considered a parolee.

Police also say Anderson is not a suspect in two rapes that occurred in Crofton Sunday morning, both involving men breaking into women's homes. Molloy said police have a definite suspect in one of the rapes, which Suit said is not Anderson, and the victim of the other rape described her assailant as black. Anderson is white.

Molloy said police are seeking samples of Anderson's hair and semen for DNA testing as part of their investigation of the slaying, not as an attempt to link him with the rapes.

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