Child's murderer loses plea for reduced prison sentence

August 19, 1994|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Sun Staff Writer

A Columbia man serving a 25-year prison term for the August 1993 beating death of a 6-year-old boy lost his bid for a reduced sentence yesterday.

Judge Raymond Kane Jr. denied a request by Anthony Lee Crawford for a reconsideration of sentence during a hearing in Howard Circuit Court.

Judge Kane sentenced Crawford to 25 years in prison in March as part of a plea agreement the 31-year-old man accepted for second-degree murder.

Crawford, who lived in the 5100 block of Brook Way in the Wilde Lake village, must serve nearly 15 years of his sentence before becoming eligible for parole, according to state parole guidelines.

Crawford, who is infected with the virus that causes AIDS, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the Aug. 3, 1993, slaying of Christopher Flye, a Nashville, Tenn., boy who was visiting him for the summer.

An autopsy showed that Christopher died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head that caused internal bleeding and swelling in the brain. Medical examiners found evidence of 13 blows to the boy's head, among other injuries.

Crawford initially reported that Christopher had fallen in a bathtub and that he had fallen off the toilet and struck his head on a shelf.

He later told investigators that two days before Christopher's death he had heard several "thumps" coming from the bathroom where the boy was taking a bath.

The man told the detectives that he "just snapped" when he went to the bathroom and then began repeatedly striking Christopher in the face because the rest of the boy's body was submerged in bath water.

The defendant's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Richard Bernhardt, said at Crawford's sentencing hearing that his client was going through a difficult time when Christopher's mother -- a longtime friend -- brought the boy to visit him.

Crawford had recently learned that he had been infected with the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome through a blood transfusion, a diagnosis that cut short his military career, Mr. Bernhardt said.

In addition, Crawford's marriage failed after his wife began a relationship with one of his friends, Mr. Bernhardt said, and he also lost his job as a security guard because of a back injury.

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