Convicted serial killer gets life in prison

December 18, 2009 (CHICAGO) Crawford was convicted of murdering 11 women on Chicago's South Side.

The jury had started deliberations late Thursday afternoon.

The sentence upset many family members of the victims. Some were so angry they ran out of the courtroom after the verdict was announced.

Crawford will be moved to a state prison.

Family members of Andre Crawford's 11 victims held hands in a circle of prayer downstairs in the courthouse after jurors sentenced him. Many cried and left the courtroom moments after hearing the sentence of life in prison. They wanted the death penalty.

"Justice was not served today because he may be free on the inside, but our loved ones are gone and gone forever while he get to live," said Tyrone Cotton, victim's brother.

"Now he get to live. He get to wake up in the morning and eat. My sister can't eat no more. She up there. She's eating God's spirit," said Rena Carlock, victim's sister.

"I wanted him dead. I just wanted him dead. I wanted the verdict to come back for him to be deceased just like he killed them," said Tashanna Johnson, victim's relative.

Most of the twelve-person jury apparently felt the same way. Denise Travers listened to testimony for six weeks. She says 10 jurors voted for the death penalty but two held out.

"I'm sorry for the families. I'm sorry. The past six weeks have in vain because he didn't get what he deserved," said Travers.

Crawford sexually assaulted and killed 11 women. The attacks usually happened in abandoned buildings. Prosecutors say he usually offered drugs in exchange for sex to lure his victims, many of whom led what prosecutors describe as dangerous lifestyles.

A twelfth victim survived by playing dead until Crawford left. Claudia Robinson says she is still haunted by him.

"He was a monster. And the citizens are going to let a monster live better than me. I cannot work. I have nightmares," said Robinson.

Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez issued a statement saying, "we certainly believed that the terror and horror inflicted by this defendant on the multiple victims was worthy of a death sentence."

Crawford's lawyers, however, argued in court that he was abandoned as a baby and sexually abused through his teenage years. They asked for mercy.

"I don't know what he want, he never told me. He appeared to be a happy man after it was over," said Clifford Johnson-Bey, defense paralegal.

Prosecutors alleged in court that Crawford raped his cell mate in the Cook County Jail. They argued that he will be a danger to other inmates in prison if sent to general prison population instead of Death Row.

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