Jury returns to Trenton trial for murder of Tracy Crews after several delays

Moments before Tracy Crews was shot in the kitchen of his Whittaker Avenue home in September 2008, he put up his hands to try to shield himself, a medical examiner testified Thursday.

But Crews’ hands were no match for a 9 mm bullet. Crews was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead at 12:25 a.m. on Sept. 13, 2008, less than an hour after he was shot after tucking his then-2-year-old daughter into bed.

Tracy Crews, right, with family members. Submitted photo

Tracy Crews, right, with family members. Submitted photo

The fatal shot pierced Crews’ right wrist, grazing the chest area near his clavicle, before it re-entered the left side of his neck and exited from near his ear, said Dr. Daksha Shah, the Mercer County medical examiner who performed Crews’ autopsy.

She was one of three witnesses who took the stand Thursday, the jury’s first day back after myriad delays in trial testimony caused by evidence issues.

Shah testified the bullet “exploded” Crews’ carotid artery, a major vessel that supplies blood to the brain. A V-neck T-shirt Crews had on at the time he was mortally wounded was soaked in blood.

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Defense asks for dismissal as prosecutor tries to accommodate request to interview informant in murder trial

The prosecutor, Al Garcia, said it best when he surmised Wednesday that attorneys involved in the Tracy Crews murder trial are in “uncharted territory.”

Garcia is in the peculiar position of working with the defense to possibly help clear its clients, William Brown and Nigel Joseph Dawson.

The thought of a prosecutor taking such measures is jaw-dropping. But that’s the position Garcia is in because of discovery issues that threaten to derail the murder trial. Read more

Police: Informant who accused widow of setting up murder victim was unreliable

It was spring 2013 and Gary Britton, the Trenton Police lead detective in the Tracy Crews murder case, had gotten a tip from a Pennsylvania prison official that a female inmate at Muncy claimed she had information implicating Crews’ widow, Sheena Robinson-Crews, in his murder. Read more

Judge issues gag order in Tracy Crews murder trial

Ongoing publicity of the Tracy Crews murder trial led a judge Wednesday to issue a gag order preventing attorneys from speaking with the media about the case.

While issuing his decision, the judge, Andrew Smithson, also accused The Trentonian of “throwing me under the bus for holding a star chamber proceeding” – a reference to a secretive judicial hearing. Read more

Questions rise about jury’s ability to remain untainted through delays of murder trial

The murder trial of two men suspected of killing Tracy Crews in 2008 has had myriad twists and turns.

None was bigger than the bombshell leveled this week, implicating Sheena Robinson-Crews, the victim’s widow, as a possible co-conspirator in his murder. Read more

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. Read more

Undisclosed police report causes drama at Trenton murder trial

A previously undisclosed police report, dubbed the Terman report by attorneys, could derail the murder trial of two men suspected of fatally shooting Tracy Lamont Crews in 2008.

One defense attorney called the 17-page report, which provides a new window into police’s response to the Sept. 12, 2008 slaying of Crews inside his Whittaker Avenue home, “devastating” to his client, according to a transcript obtained by The Trentonian.

Edward Hesketh, the attorney for Nigel Joseph Dawson, accused Gary Britton, Trenton police’s lead detective in the homicide case, of misconduct – an accusation a judge quickly quashed.

“The more troubling aspect of this is that the lead detective in this case, Detective Britton, had in is possession, preparing for trial, these first 17 [pages of] reports,” Hesketh said

The revelation comes days after Superior Court Judge Andrew Smithson dismissed the jury early in the trial of Dawson, 31, who is being tried alongside co-defendant William Brown, 30, for the murder of Crews. Read more

Family members open up to give a more complete picture of murder victim Tracy Crews

Neal Crews stood outside a county courtroom, decked out in a black “I can’t breathe” shirt, black pants and a black beanie.

It has been more than six years since 23-year-old Tracy Crews was killed during an armed invasion at his Whittaker Avenue residence.

The authorities said they cracked the case, arresting William Brown, 30, and Nigel Joseph Dawson, 31. Both are on trial for the Sept. 12, 2008 murder, a harrowing tale of a best man’s betrayal that ended when Tracy Crews was shot in the neck and bled out in front of a city liquor store.

Tracy Crews, right, with family members. Submitted photo

Tracy Crews, right, with family members. Submitted photo

Neal Crews is still mourning the loss of his brother because every morning he cracks open the newspaper and has to relive the death. Every time he gets to the part about his brother being a convicted drug dealer, he cringes. He knows it’s true, but it robs his brother of his humanity.

“I just don’t want my brother being remembered as a drug dealer, street kid,” he said. “He was much more than that.”
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Judge pulls Trenton murder trial into closed session

Superior Court Judge Andrew Smithson appears committed to trying the case of two men accused of fatally shooting convicted drug dealer Tracy Lamont Crews at sidebar and in judge’s chambers.

The murder trial of William Brown and Nigel Joseph Dawson was stalled this week by undisclosed evidentiary issues significant enough that Smithson suspended proceedings until Tuesday, when a jury is expected to resume hearing evidence in the Sept. 12, 2008 slaying of Crews inside his Whittaker Avenue home.

This came a day after Smithson dismissed the jury early and later notified jurors that they weren’t required to return to court until Friday.

All that changed Thursday morning, when Smithson summoned Assistant Prosecutor Al Garcia and defense attorneys Steven Lember and Edward Hesketh into his chambers. Read more

Trial for 2008 murder of Tracey Crews details alleged betrayal and botched robbery by best man

Tracey Crews scooped his sleeping daughter out of the back of his double-parked vehicle outside the Whittaker Avenue residence he shared with his new wife.

The couple was just starting off their life together. They had been married for a little more than a month and planned to move to a new apartment. Their world came crashing down late Sept. 12, 2008, when Crews was killed during an armed home invasion.

The murder remained unsolved for nearly three years until investigators cracked the case thanks to a dying declaration and DNA evidence linking one of the defendants on trial for Crews’ murder to a ski mask used in the crime. Read more