Guilty verdict in trial of accused serial killer

December 10, 2009 9:03:50 PM PST
A jury reached a verdict in the murder trial of Andre Crawford Thursday.Crawford was accused of killing 11 women in Chicago's Englewood community over several years in the 1990s. Chicago police referred to Crawford as the "Pattern A" serial killer.

The jury returned the verdict shortly before 6 p.m. Thursday. Jurors deliberated for a slightly more than 10 hours before finding Andre Crawford guilty.

Relatives of some of the victims wiped away tears as they left the courtroom. Although they are under a gag order and barred from talking on camera, one said, after hearing the guilty verdict, that he had waited 10 years for this, and it is a glorious day.

Crawford spent 10 years in the Cook County jail awaiting this trial. He showed no emotion as the judge read "guilty" 24 times for the aggravated rape and murders of 11 women, and the attempted murder and rape of a 12th surviving victim. All of the victims were African-American.

Prosecutors say the victims were involved in what they called high-risk lifestyles.

The now 54-year-old surviving victim testified how Crawford raped her, then beat her with a two-by-four before leaving her for dead in an abandoned South Side building.

Prosecutors say Crawford, a Navy veteran, lived basically as a vagrant in the Englewood and New City neighborhoods. They described how he often left the scene of a murder and smoked crack cocaine, ten returned to have sex with their corpses.

In most cases, the victims' bodies were discovered long after the murders, some badly decomposed and barely recognizable.

Prosecutors and defense attorneys are also bound by the gag order. They left the courthouse without comment.

Jurors will be back in court Friday. Testimony on the death penalty phase of the trial was set to begin Friday morning.


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