Widow of Trenton murder victim accused by defense attorneys of conspiring in husband’s death
As Tracy Lamont Crews lay dying on the pavement outside his city residence, his new wife cradled him in her arms and applied pressure to his neck. Blood was all over her hands — literally and metaphorically, defense attorneys say — as it pooled on the concrete steps near Whittaker Liquor.
What Sheena Robinson-Crews did in the hours after her husband was fatally shot Sept. 12, 2008 – just a month after the couple had wed — has defense attorneys claiming she set up her husband to be murdered and then “framed” defendants William Brown and Nigel Joseph Dawson by telling authorities they were involved.
The defendants’ murder trial took an explosive turn during a Monday hearing outside of the jury’s presence. Attorneys were in a court to discuss whether they planned to ask for a mistrial after a previously undisclosed police report, dubbed the Terman report, surfaced detailing police’s response into Crews’ slaying.
The report also sheds light on a phone conversation Robinson-Crews had with someone defense attorneys say is the real killer. During the conversation Robinson-Crews was overhead by a detective saying, “You didn’t have to kill him.”
That paled in comparison to Assistant Prosecutor Al Garcia’s bombshell revelation that he discovered a two-page report from a Pennsylvania state prison official that says an inmate at the Muncy correction center where Robinson-Crews was serving time for a drug offense told a state prison official that Robinson-Crews “regretted” setting up her husband’s murder.
The report doesn’t shed light on who Robinson-Crews purportedly conspired with, but Garcia said it is clear that it was with “other people besides the defendants.”
Steven Lember, Brown’s defense attorney, called the revelation the “most exculpatory piece of evidence that we’ve had” and said it could be the basis for him to file a motion to dismiss an indictment charging his client with murder and robbery.
Lember said the report is significant because Robinson-Crews first put Brown, Tracy Crews’ friend, former roommate and the best man at his wedding, and Dawson on authorities’ “radar.”
Authorities, relying on DNA from a mask that was linked back to Brown, claimed to have cracked the case nearly three years after Crews’ death.
Edward Hesketh, Dawson’s attorney, accused Robinson-Crews of setting up his client.
“All of this points to a frame-up,” he said. “This woman framed these two defendants.”
The implications are bleak for the state, which had planned to have Robinson-Crews testify at trial. Garcia said he still plans to call Robinson-Crews to the stand if the trial moves forward.
Hesketh said Robinson-Crews “would be a fool to take the stand and not plead the Fifth [Amendment],” which safeguards people from incriminating themselves.
At the same time, Hesketh said, the jury needs to hear “the falsehoods and all of this other information.”
Defense attorneys said they don’t plan to ask for a mistrial but said they need time to investigate the new evidence.
The jury is not expected back in court until at least Monday, marking the latest delay in a trial that has been beset by witness and evidence issues.
Lember said it was a longshot that he or Hesketh would be able to track down the jailhouse informant who reportedly made the statement.
Robinson-Crews’ reputaiton was in question long before Monday. Tracy Crews’ brothers said they didn’t “vibe” with her and that she was never really accepted into the family.
Defense attorneys said police were initially suspicion of Robinson-Crews after she refused to cooperate with authorities until after she placed the phone call, the attorneys said.
Previous reports indicate Robinson-Crews was arrested by federal and local officials in Bucks County for selling heroin months after her husband’s death.
The 2009 published report says Robinson-Crews was arrested with another man, Peter Manning, who has ties to the Sex Money Murder set of the Bloods street gang.
The article claims Tracy Crews belonged to the rival G-Shine set and that Robinson-Crews was affiliated with the set until she changed her allegiance to Sex Money Murder sometime after his death.
The Trentonian was unable to track down contact information for Robinson-Crews.
“I welcome Sheena Robinson on the witness stand,” Lember said. “We have tons of ammunition we haven’t even used.”