On January 31, 2000, a 50-member Police Task Force announced the arrest of 37-year-old Andre Crawford. Crawford, who was genetically linked to seven murders and eight rapes, was arrested January 28 after police received several tips about him while interviewing the friends of one of the victims. With his arrest police solved a cluster of slaying in the Englewood and New City areas that had preiviously been identified genetically. In custody Crawford confessed on videotape to the seven murders he was linked to genetically as well as to three others authorities had not considered to be related to the case. The extra three killings also involved drug-addicted prostitutes and occurred between July 23, 1997, and February 2, 1999.
In all he was charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder, 11 counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault and one count of attempted murder. With Crawford's arrest the Chicago Police Department solved 11 of the 13 murders originally under investigation with three of the four DNA-Patterned-suspects under arrest.
Prosecutors said Crawford's videotaped confession took three days. In it he said he killed the women he lured from the streets into abandoned buildings to exchange drugs for ***. "When women would resist having the sexual favors before the delivery of the cocaine, he would then strangle them," said Assistant State's Attorney Thomas Epach. In at least one case, the prosecutor added, Crawford had *** with a victim after she was murdered. Then he moved her to another building where he would return to have *** again.
Crawford was well known in the New City and Englewood area. According to residents he was the type of person who would offer to do small chores for cash. "You'd never expect it," said Englewood resident Quincy Ray. "This is a man who'd ask if he could shovel your snow." Another neighbor said Crawford often voiced his hatred of prostitutes. "He said they *** be out there, they should get a job and do something better with their lives." Though at the time of his arrest he was unemployed, he worked for 13 years as a newspaper delivery truck driver for the Chicago Sun-Times.
Like the police profilers warned, Crawford - who had a police record dating back to 1985 - lived in the community and traveled in the same circles as his victims. "I was glad I was caught, because I was like a shark in a pool," Crawford told his interrogators. Crawford grew up in the area and lived in several vacant buildings that, not coincidentally, were close to the murder scenes. In the summer of 1999 he moved away from the Englewood area, "because there was too much heat." Relocating to Chicago's West Side he found over there the "women were tougher," he confessed.
Katrina Martin, 34, who describes herself as a recovering drug addict, was one of three people who passed Crawford's name to the police. In an interview with the Chicago Tribune she said had known Crawford since 1992, when she was making a living swapping *** for drugs. At the time she lived with a man who allowed crack users to get high in his apartment. Crawford was a regular there, and so where Patricia Dunns, Tommie Dennis, Sonja Brandon, Constance Bailey, Sheryl Johnson and Shaquanta "Pumpkin" Langley-- six of the 10 women Crawford allegedly murdered. She started suspecting Crawford was one of the South Side killers in December 1999 when he sat behind her on a bus and told her the victims deserved to die. "(They) need to be strangled and have their heads beaten in," she remembered him saying.
To track the serial-killer probe Crawford went to community meetings were police and residents discussed the South Side killings and the police investigation. "I found out this man was attending my meetings, clapping when I walked in," Wentworth Area Detective Trigg said at a Chicago Commons Mary McDowell Settlement House meeting following the arrest. Crawford also participated in Operation Safe Passage, in which men escort children through tough South Side neighborhoods as they walk to school. "It's scary that this man was able to be among a community and society for as long as he was, to be a part of the very effort that was supposed to protect us from him," Coleman said.