Crawford trial, day 5

Defendant Jason Crawford, on trial for the murder of his wife Tiffiney Joy Crawford, took the stand on Friday, Nov. 18 (Amy Leonard for The Cullman Tribune)

Warning: This article includes graphic language.

CULLMAN, Ala. – Defendant Jason Crawford, on trial for the murder of his wife Tiffiney Joy Crawford, took the stand Friday, Nov. 18 as the first witness of the day in Judge Martha Williams’ courtroom. He stated that on May 2, 2017, the day of the victim’s death, his suspicions about his wife’s infidelity were confirmed as he searched her computer’s history. He stated he was “pretty devastated.”

At approximately 5:30-6 p.m. the defendant called the victim and Tiffiney denied the affair. He attempted to reach the victim’s friend, Maggie Derrick, and she did not answer. Jason continued searching the computer, found more information, and called Tiffiney again at approximately 6-6:30 p.m. at which time she confirmed the affair. The defendant states he requested the victim to, “get home and let’s talk about this.” He reported asking his teenaged son to go next door to his parent’s, Ronda and Chris Crawford, home “so he wouldn’t see or hear anything.” The door was locked so the teen returned home where he was told to stay in his room.

Crawford then attempted to call Kyle Sunday, the victim’s lover, who did not answer. The defendant called Caroline Gamble, another of the victim’s friends, who verified the affair. The defendant called the victim for a third and a fourth time asking her to come home. The victim returned home with the couple’s three-year-old daughter and five-year-old son. The defendant took the children and put them to bed while not allowing the victim to enter the home due to her “betrayal of the family.”

While outside, the defendant stated he was “berating” the victim stating, “I told her to take her fucking ring off” and called the victim “a whore and things of that nature.” The defendant states he was not screaming nor yelling and the victim spoke very little and looked down while sobbing. The victim stated she needed her work clothes for her shift at Publix the following day which the defendant entered the home to retrieve. While laughing on the stand, the defendant stated he threw the victim’s smock at her. He then brought out her pants and threw them at the deceased. The defense noted the laugh and asked why and if it was funny. The defendant replied, “No, but” and stopped. He acknowledged that he wanted the victim to feel pain like he was feeling.

After 5-10 more minutes of degrading the victim, while she was seated in the van, the defendant said he decided he was “ready to go in and collect my thoughts.” He recalled just entering the home and being in the laundry room when he heard “a shot, a scream and a shot.” Jason testified that he ran out to see what happened and went inside for his phone and called 911 and told his son to call his parents. In the 911 call, the defendant reported his wife had been shot. He stated he received conflicting information from the 911 operator, being told to check for a pulse yet not touch the victim. The defendant stated that the victim’s chest and stomach were still moving. Jason reported feeling “stress, anxiety and confusion” at the time.

The defendant stated his parents, and his sister were told that the victim was dead, and he was interviewed by Deputies Corey Freeman and Jared Aaron from the Cullman County Sheriff’s Office at that time. Later, when the State Bureau of Investigation took over the case the defendant was formally interviewed by Joe Parrish, another investigator whose name he does not remember and Jeff Rotenberry, who the defendant said was “hateful and disrespectful” toward him, the defendant told while laughing again from the stand. He stated he walked out of the interview “when I finally got tired of him berating me.” When asked if he killed Tiffiney Joy Crawford, the defendant replied, “No.”

During cross examination, the defendant was asked if he considered the deceased a “whore” in the beginning of their relationship when she was still married to another man. Jason Crawford stated, “She was a whore the whole time.” He acknowledged saying to the victim on the night of her death that she was to “get your shit and get out” and that he was mad.

The defendant stated that witness Caroline Gamble lied on the stand when she recalled him stating, “I can’t go through this again” when he found out about the victim’s affair. Rather, the defendant remembers saying, “I can’t believe I’m going through this again.” He confirmed that he did not tell any law enforcement officers on the scene the night of the death about his wife’s infidelity, only about an argument.

On the redirect, the defendant was asked if he loved the deceased and why. He said yes and described her as “unique and outgoing.” He stated he broke up with her twice while they were dating but “she wouldn’t allow it.” He said he felt, “mad and angry, also sad” on May 2, 2017

During his testimony, the prosecution objected several times and the defendant, before his defense council could speak, would respond why his answers should have been allowed. At one point, Judge Martha Williams looked at the defendant and said, “I’m not asking you” as he responded for his council.

Valerie Shields, a friend of the deceased and Mom Helping Moms (MHM) administrator, testified the Tiffiney was “amazing,” had “so many friends” and was “easy to talk to.” She said that the deceased was “joyful and positive.” In March of 2017, Tiffiney told Shields about her infidelity and that she didn’t want to hurt her husband. The deceased reported she was “unhappy in her marriage” and that her husband, the defendant was “lazy” and “not exciting.” Shields recommended her friend seek counseling. When Tiffiney and her boyfriend broke up, Shields suggested she work on herself, divorce the defendant and go to counseling. Shields testified the deceased was “depressed and struggling” and drinking heavily. Shields stated that the deceased started a job at Publix to save money in order to leave her husband and, after Tiffiney’s first counseling appointment the day before her death, she was “nervous but excited.”

Maggie Derrick, identified as Tiffiney’s best friend, took the stand and said she “felt like she knew her (Tiffiney) all my life.” In late April, Derrick reported the deceased was “pretty upset” after the breakup with her boyfriend and they talked of her leaving the defendant. On May 2, 2017, Tiffiney spoke to Derrick after Jason learned of the affair. Derrick testified that Tiffiney “seemed okay.”

The state called James Curtis, a firearms safety instructor, as a rebuttal witness. Curtis reported the deceased taking his basic firearms safety course during the winter of 2016-2017. In the course, Curtis testified that only a two-hand grip shooting was taught, “always two-hand.” In the approximately 50 rounds the deceased fired in the course, all shots were fired with a two-hand grip.

Stacy Ikard, a licensed professional counselor, was called by the defense and testified about the Myers Briggs personality assessment. She explained that suicidal ideation was an irregular thought process, and a suicidality assessment was only accurate in the moment the assessment was administered. It was a “snapshot of that moment.”

Closing arguments were given and the jury began deliberation.

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