NORRISTOWN — A jury has been seated for the trial of a Philadelphia man accused of stabbing his ex-girlfriend and driving over her with his vehicle, crushing her to death, during what prosecutors called a “disturbing” killing that was recorded by surveillance videotape.
Lawrence Maurice Crawley, his face and arms severely burned after he set himself on fire during the investigation, showed no emotion Monday as a jury of nine men and three women was selected to hear evidence in the case. Two alternate jurors, a man and a woman, also were seated.
Judge Thomas C. Branca said testimony will begin on Tuesday at the trial that is slated to last through the end of the week.
Lawrence Maurice Crawley, his face & arms severely burned after he set himself on fire during the investigation of the alleged murder of his ex-girlfriend, showed no emotion as lawyers began the process of selecting a jury for his #trial in #MontcoPa #Court. pic.twitter.com/QoSpriWxqg— Carl Hessler Jr. (@MontcoCourtNews) January 13, 2020
Crawley, 34, faces charges of first- and third-degree murder, possessing an instrument of crime and possession of a weapon in connection with the alleged 2:27 a.m. Aug. 3, 2018, attack of Angela Maya Stith outside Vector Security where she worked along the 5100 block of Campus Drive in Whitemarsh.
As the judge, District Attorney Kevin R. Steele and defense lawyer Carrie L. Allman questioned potential jurors individually about their ability to be “fair and impartial,” some expressed concerns about viewing photos or video evidence at the trial.
“I just think if I had to look at that I don’t know if I could be impartial,” one woman told the judge before she was excused “for cause” as a potential juror by agreement of Steele and Allman.
Lawrence Maurice Crawley is escorted to #MontcoPa courtroom where jury selection began on Monday for his #trial in connection with alleged murder of his ex-girlfriend in #Whitemarsh pic.twitter.com/u2IICZysCu— Carl Hessler Jr. (@MontcoCourtNews) January 13, 2020
A surveillance videotape that recorded the alleged killing is expected to be played for the jury. Prosecutors also plan to show jurors certain autopsy photos of Stith’s stab and crushing wounds, which they argued are relevant to show Crawley’s alleged “specific intent to kill.”
Prosecutors alleged Crawley initially attacked Stith as she sat in her vehicle and then as she ran away on foot repeatedly stabbed her outside her workplace. As Stith’s coworkers ran outside to help her, Crawley got into a three-ton Chevrolet Avalanche vehicle and drove the vehicle over the top of Stith three times as her horrified coworkers looked on, prosecutors alleged.
Authorities believe Stith, who had a previous relationship with Crawley, was on a workplace break at the time Crawley showed up on a rear parking lot of the business. Steele and co-prosecutor Allison Ruth said surveillance cameras in the area captured the fatal attack on videotape. That video footage is expected to be played for jurors.
Lawrence Maurice Crawley, accused of killing his ex-girlfriend in #Whitemarsh, & later setting himself on fire has his jury - 9 men & 3 women selected for his #MontcoPa #Court #murder #trial. Testimony begins Tuesday. pic.twitter.com/7dFOszBhd2— Carl Hessler Jr. (@MontcoCourtNews) January 13, 2020
“It is disturbing. It is disturbing. This was a terrible death,” Steele previously said at a news conference where he announced Crawley’s arrest.
Some potential jurors also were excused for cause when they revealed they were either victims of domestic violence or knew other domestic abuse victims. Lawyers said there will be evidence of domestic violence allegations during Crawley’s trial.
“Domestic violence, I can’t say I could be completely unbiased,” one woman told the judge before she was excused as a juror.
Lawrence Maurice Crawley, 34, faces charges of first- and third-degree murder in connection with the alleged 2:27 a.m. Aug. 3, 2018, attack of Angela Maya Stith outside Vector Security where she worked along Campus Drive in #Whitemarsh. His trial begins this week.— Carl Hessler Jr. (@MontcoCourtNews) January 13, 2020
One man was excused when he flatly stated he couldn’t trust the testimony of law enforcement officers, maintaining a relative was “railroaded” in a criminal case several years ago.
A conviction of first-degree murder, which is an intentional killing, carries a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment. A conviction of third-degree murder, a killing committed with malice, carries a possible maximum sentence of 20 to 40 years in prison.
Authorities alleged Crawley fled the scene in the blue Chevrolet Avalanche SUV and was spotted several hours later by state police traveling on the westbound Pennsylvania Turnpike in Somerset County. As troopers approached the vehicle, Crawley set himself on fire inside the vehicle, according to court documents.
Crawley survived and was transported to a hospital in western Pennsylvania where he was listed in critical but stable condition and in a medically-induced coma for several days, according to officials.