Murder victim’s widow tells harrowing tale of night her husband was killed in Trenton
Sheena Robinson-Crews was eight months pregnant and pressed with a perilous decision on Sept. 12, 2008.
Her husband, Tracy Crews, had just been shot in the neck inside the couple’s Whittaker Avenue home shortly after he had tucked their 2-year-old daughter into bed.
Crews lay dying in his wife’s arms on a city street near a package liquor store while an ambulance screamed to the scene to take him to Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton.
Robinson-Crews refused to leave her husband’s side until paramedics arrived. While they were loading him into the ambulance, Robinson-Crews’ attention turned to the welfare of her daughter, who was still inside the two-story apartment.
She could either accompany her husband to the hospital or stick around the apartment and wait to see if her daughter was all right.
“As a mother,” Robinson-Crews said, “I decided to stay with my daughter.”
That was the last time Robinson-Crews saw her husband alive. He died a short time later at the hospital. The medical examiner testified he had lost too much blood after a shot from a 9 mm luger pierced his carotid artery.
Robinson-Crews’ daughter was fine. A police officer wrapped the still-sleeping girl in a blanket and brought her downstairs.
Crews’ widow, who was just released from a state prison in Pennsylvania last month, took the stand for the first time Tuesday following much debate about whether she would still testify after a report from a corrections officer emerged detailing Robinson-Crews’ possible involvement in her husband’s murder.
The story is that Robinson-Crews, who was serving six years at Muncy on a drug conviction, confessed to inmate, Maria Cappelli, that she set up her husband’s murder because he was physically and emotionally abusive.
Robinson Crews, dressed in a black blouse, matching skirt and heels, was in the midst of being cross-examined by defense attorney Edward Hesketh when court broke for the day. Hesketh and his colleague, Steven Lember, are expected to ask questions about a possible conspiracy when Robinson-Crews returns to the witness stand Wednesday morning.
Robinson-Crews is the person who first put defendants William Brown and Nigel Joseph Dawson on the authorities’ radar.
Hesketh had just enough time to ask Robinson-Crews about her relationship with Brown, her husband’s drug enterprise and his ties to G-Shine, a set of the Bloods street gang.
Robinson-Crews didn’t agree with Hesketh’s assertion that she disliked Brown, saying he was her husband’s friend, best man and former roommate. She also didn’t agree with a claim that her husband was a “high-ranking” Bloods gang member.
Earlier in the day, Robinson-Crews testified her husband was being monitored by an ankle bracelet but had absconded parole and resumed dealing drugs shortly after he was paroled from state prison on a drug conviction. Crews made about $10,000 a week dealing heroin, or more than a half-million a year.
Robinson-Crews said Brown knew how much his friend was raking in.
On the day in question, Robinson-Crews testified she left the couple’s Whittaker Avenue residence in the morning to go shopping with a friend.
She and Crews had wed about a month before and the couple was in the process of moving to a new home in Hamilton. Both Crews and his wife had children from prior relationships. And with the couple expecting another child, a baby girl, they needed more space.
Robinson-Crews was at a Walmart in Lawrenceville when she received a call sometime that day from Crews. Crews was wanted and “on the run” after he stopped reporting to his parole officer, his wife testified.
So when he noticed a police cruiser following his minivan, he pulled over to the side of the road, phoned Robinson-Crews and asked her to come pick him up.
Robinson-Crews drove her BMW to where her husband was. They drove to another Walmart. While the couple was in the checkout line, Robinson-Crews said she overheard her husband on the phone with Dawson.
Dawson asked if Crews had ecstasy and whether he was planning to party that night, Robinson-Crews said. Later, the couple went to pick up Crews’ brother, Isaiah. They were headed home when the transmission in the minivan crapped out. Crews called a tow truck.
Robinson-Crews waited in the vehicle while Crews, his brother and a friend left to pick up his Buick. Crews dropped off his brother before picking up his wife. The couple drove their friend home before heading toward their new home in Hamilton.
Crews later drove his wife to pick up her BMW, which was still on the side of the road. It was around 11 p.m. when the family began trekking home to their Whittaker Avenue residence in separate cars. The couple’s 2-year-old daughter was asleep in the back of the car.
When they pulled up to Whittaker Avenue, Crews double parked and scooped his sleeping daughter out of the back of the car. He grabbed keys to the home from his wife since his had bent, his wife testified.
Robinson-Crews waited outside while Crews tucked their daughter into bed upstairs. Crews came back outside, handed his keys back to his wife and went back inside. Robinson-Crews said she was inside her car talking to a friend for about 10 minutes about an upcoming baby shower when she heard gun shots ring out.
She saw a half-dressed man — in a white T-shirt, boxer shorts and socks — near the front of her home. She didn’t realize the man was her husband until he staggered toward the package liquor store on the corner.
The jury saw video of Crews clutching his neck, his shirt soaked by blood, and trying to get into the liquor store. Someone held the door shut. Robinson-Crews said she rushed to her husband’s side.
They collapsed in the middle of the road. She called 911. Within minutes, a swarm of police officers descend upon the scene. The first responding officer, Maurice Crosby, asked her what happened and tried to get her lay her husband flat. But she refused and kept applying pressure to his neck.
“This is my husband,” she said. “I’m not leaving him.”
In the end, she had no choice.
“I finally let him go,” she said.