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NY police: Man confesses in three killings -- two of them 19 years ago

By Dominique Debucquoy-Dodley, CNN
updated 9:17 PM EST, Wed December 5, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Police investigating a 1993 murder went to a suspect's home
  • The suspect was not there, but police found the body of a 41-year-old woman
  • The man was arrested
  • Police said he told them he had killed three women -- two in 1993, and one this week

New York (CNN) -- A New York man was arraigned Wednesday after police say he told them he killed three women -- two of them nearly 20 years ago and the third this week.

The arrest of Lucius Crawford of Mount Vernon, New York, on Tuesday prompted the NYPD to notify authorities on Long Island, where investigators continue to search for a possible serial killer in the deaths of 10 women whose remains were found along beach areas in recent years.

But amid extensive media coverage on the possibility of a link, the Suffolk County Police Department said Wednesday there did not appear to be any reason to suspect that the 60-year-old Crawford had "any involvement with the homicides that occurred" in that oceanfront county.

"Homicide detectives will conduct a further investigation to rule Crawford out as a possible suspect," the statement added.

Crawford was arrested on Tuesday, after officers found the body of 41-year old Tanya Simmons in his bed, according to Mount Vernon Police Commissioner Carl Bell. The suspect was not home at the time officers discovered Simmons.

Officers from several police departments went to Crawford's apartment initially to question him about the October 1993 murder of a Bronx woman and the September 1993 murder of a Yonkers woman. Crawford was not home, but police entered the apartment and found the woman's body, authorities said.

Once in custody, Crawford admitted to stabbing and killing Simmons in his apartment, as well as the 1993 murders, according to NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne. Detectives also discovered that Crawford's parole tracking bracelet had been removed and was in his apartment.

"We're glad to have this man off the streets," Bell, of the Mount Vernon police, said. "He's harmed so many people over the years, and now it's finally over."

Detectives had recently re-activated the Bronx woman's case after DNA evidence linked Crawford to the murder, the NYPD said in a statement. Crawford was already a suspect in the Yonkers cold case, police said.

Crawford was charged with second-degree murder in Simmons' death and was being held without bail . It could not be determined whether Crawford was being represented by an attorney.

He will be charged separately for the 1993 killings, authorities said.

Crawford has an extensive history of violence against women, according to a statement from the NYPD.

He was on parole at the time of his arrest after spending 13 years in prison, from 1995 until 2008, for the stabbing of a Westchester woman, the statement said.

The statement added that Crawford had also been incarcerated from 1977 until 1991 for stabbing as many as five females, aged 14 to 28, over a five-day period in Charleston, South Carolina.

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