Suspected Child Killer Could Be a Free Man Soon
An accused child killer won't face another trial. That's the decision from the Caddo District Attorneys Office in the case against Rodricus C. Crawford for the February 2012 death of his year-old son, Roderius Lott.
The DA has decided not to retry Crawford for the child's death.
The Louisiana Supreme Court reversed the previous conviction of Crawford and vacated the death sentence imposed by the jury. The state's high court ordered a new trial. But after exhaustive study, the District Attorney has decided not to retry him for the toddler's death.
In its opinion, the Supreme Court noted the distinguishable time frame it takes for bruises to form on the lips of the child versus the additional time it would take to result in the child's suffocation. The requirement to exclude every reasonable possibility of how this could occur is a burden it felt the State cannot meet with the evidence available. Without any evidence of intentional acts by Crawford that directly caused the death, the State faced competing possibilities of neglect by Crawford and potentially other family members in the care and treatment of the child.
The Caddo Parish District Attorney's office says Rodricus Crawford was a chronic and heavy abuser of marijuana. They also say the fact was well known to his family members as well as the fact that the child had experienced multiple respiratory infections in his brief life. Crawford was provided a suction device to clear the child's sinuses/nasal passages. Bruising of the lips as noted in the autopsy could possibly be ascribed to use of this device while he was in a drug-induced impaired state. Also, the fact that Crawford could have rolled onto the child in a drug intoxicated state and suffocated the child is a reasonable possibility the State had to consider. The DA's office says these reasonable possibilities all point to a criminally negligent homicide.
KTBS reports new evidence presented after the trial raised questions about the degree of pneumonia together with bacteria in the child's blood indicative of sepsis are possibilities that require consideration. While the coroner and the District Attorney's office stand by the determination that a homicide occurred, the State has the burden of proving all elements of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. In this circumstantial evidence case, the State must also exclude every reasonable hypothesis of any other crime or innocence factors.
Prosecutors still believe a charge of criminal negligent homicide is possible, other members of the family might have also played a role in the child's death. Even if successful on that charge against Crawford, the amount of time he has spent in jail is close to the maximum sentence available if he was convicted.