Date not affirmed by the state court. Click here for the full story.
Update: March 26, 2014
The report that an execution date of March 26, 2014, had been set for Charles Ray Crawford was erroneous. On February 24, 2014, Attorney General Jim Hood requested March 26 as an execution date, however according to a spokesperson for the Mississippi Supreme Court, the justices have yet to act on that request and set a date for execution. Click here for the full story.
March 20, 2014
Charles Ray Crawford's execution is scheduled for 6 pm CDT on Wednesday, March 26, 2014, at the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, Mississippi. Forty-eight-year-old Charles is convicted of kidnapping, raping, and murdering 20-year-old Kristy Ray, on Friday, January 29, 1993, in Tippah County, Mississippi. Charles has spent the last 19 years on Mississippi's death row.
Kristy Ray arrived at the Sunburst Bank around 12:30 pm, where she worked part-time with her mother on January 29, 1993. Kristy and her mother, Mary, left the bank together around 5:15 pm, making plans to see each other later. Around 6:45 pm, Mary attempted to call Kristy. When she received no answer, Mary assumed Kristy was with her boyfriend.
Mary arrived home at 7:00 pm, but did not see Kristy's car. Upon entering the house, Mary saw a note on the kitchen table, along with a crude map. The note said, "There will be a red flag somewhere on this block Tuesday, 12:00 midnight, fifteen thousand dollars in gym bag or she dies. No police." Further investigation revealed that Kristy had left her purse, Kristy's room was in disarray, and the phone was dead.
Mary left home to check several places that Kristy may have been. She could not be found and had not been recently seen. Mary contacted her husband and the Tippah County Sheriff's Department, who contacted the FBI.
Upon returning home, Mary noticed signs of forced entry. A stacking pallet had been leaned against the side of the house to Kristy's window, which had the screen cut out. Mary also discovered that someone had gone through one of the drawers in her and her husband's room.
A ransom note, similar to the one found by Mary, was also found by the parents of Charles Crawford. The Crawford family was concerned that Charles, who was due in court that Monday for an assault and rape, might attempt to kidnap someone. His mother, wife, and grandfather reported the note to the attorney representing Charles. The attorney turned the information over to those investigating the disappearance of Kristy.
Police stationed officers around homes to which Charles was likely to return. The following day, Charles was arrested. Following his arrest, Charles complained of back pain and thought that his leg might be broken. During the interview with the police, after he had been read his Miranda Rights, Charles was allowed to lie down. Police questioned him about Kristy's disappearance. At first Charles denied taking Kristy, however, he later broke down and confessed that he killed her.
Around 8:00 pm on Saturday night, Charles led police to Kristy's body, which was hidden under a pile of leaves. Her hands were cuffed behind her back around a small tree. She had a sock stuffed in her mouth and a gag around her head to keep it in place. Her jeans were pulled down. She had a single stab wound to her chest, which punctured her lung and heart, causing her death. Kristy also had several other injuries, many consistent with a person attempting to defend themselves.
Charles alleges that the day of Kristy's kidnapping, he had blacked out and when he came to, he found himself in the Ray's house. He heard crying from a bedroom and discovered Kristy on the floor, handcuffed. Charles had put on a ski mask so Kristy could not recognize him. Charles asked Kristy for her car keys and decided to take her with him because he thought it would be better. Charles denies writing or seeing the ransom note.
After Charles and Kristy left, Charles drove around for a while. He talked to Kristy to help calm her down. About an hour later, they abandoned the car and walked to a barn, near where Kristy's body was later found. Kristy was still handcuffed and Charles had a knife, a revolver, and a shotgun. Charles removed the handcuffs after Kristy promised not to run away. During their walk to the barn, Charles fell into a sinkhole that came up to his neck and lost his shotgun. Kristy took the shotgun and helped him out. The two had a drink, ate cookies, and talked throughout the night in the barn.
The next morning, after hearing a police siren, Kristy talked Charles into letting her go, promising to help him. When he agreed, they began walking back to her car and he gave her the shotgun. Charles then had another blackout. The next thing Charles remembers is sitting on a stump in the woods, with Kristy's body lying at his feet. To hide her body, he dragged her across the ground, which is what he attributes to pulling her pants down. DNA testing later proved that Charles had raped Kristy.
Charles and his attorney presented and insanity defense with testimony from family members and a psychiatrist with the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
Charles was found guilty and later sentenced to death on April 23, 1994.
Please pray for peace and healing for Kristy's family. Please pray for strength for the family of Charles Crawford. Please pray that Charles may come to find peace through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, if he has not already found one.