Crawford v. Commonwealth of Va..

Decision Date13 January 2011
Docket NumberRecord No. 100202.
PartiesAnthony Dale CRAWFORDv.COMMONWEALTH of Virginia.
CourtVirginia Supreme Court


Samantha E. Freed (Steven D. Rosenfield; Snook & Haughey, Charlottesville, on briefs), for appellant.Leah A. Darron, Senior Assistant Attorney General (Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, Attorney General, on brief), for appellee.Virginia Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Marvin D. Miller (John R. Maus, on briefs), in support of appellant.Present: HASSELL, C.J., KOONTZ, KINSER, LEMONS, GOODWYN, and MILLETTE, JJ., and CARRICO, S.J.OPINION BY Justice DONALD W. LEMONS.

Anthony Dale Crawford (“Crawford”) was convicted in the Circuit Court for the City of Charlottesville of capital murder, abduction with intent to defile, use of a firearm in the commission of a murder, use of a firearm in the commission of an abduction, rape, and grand larceny. Among the several issues we address in this appeal is Crawford's contention that the trial court erred in admitting into evidence an affidavit in violation of his rights under the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

I. Facts and Proceedings Below 1

On Thursday, November 18, 2004, John and Irene Powers (“the Powers”) had dinner with their thirty-three-year-old daughter, Sarah Crawford (“Sarah”) at a local restaurant in Manassas, Virginia. When they left the restaurant that night at about 8:30 p.m., it would be the last time that they would see their daughter alive. Twelve hours later Sarah would be dead, and her husband, the appellant, Anthony Dale Crawford (“Crawford”) would be wanted for her murder.

The Powers had a “very close” relationship with their daughter and saw her frequently. Sarah and her mother talked on the phone often. During dinner, Sarah told her parents of the latest events in her life, including her job as an office manager for a television production company. Sarah mentioned to her mother that she had a hair appointment on Saturday and that, on Saturday afternoon, she had plans to go to a concert with a man she recently met. Sarah was, according to her mother, “really very happy” that night.

Sarah had every reason to be happy. She had a good job with a small company that she enjoyed and found fulfilling. She had gastric bypass surgery in the summer of 2002 and reached her goal of losing one hundred and fifty pounds. In addition, Sarah had just gotten a raise and moved into her own apartment. And, most significantly, Sarah had recently decided to end her relationship with her abusive husband, Crawford.

Sarah and Crawford had been married since 1999, and had been together for several years before that. The couple had a troubled history, and Sarah was growing increasingly fearful of her husband. In October of 2004, Sarah and Crawford separated. Following their separation, Sarah expressed to a number of friends and co-workers that she was afraid that Crawford might physically harm her. This concern caused Sarah to make a number of significant changes in her life. Sarah found a new apartment in a rural area that her mother described as “wooded, desolate,” and “well-hidden.” Sarah chose the apartment because it had a long driveway, so that she could “make a phone call” or “get out” if she saw someone coming.

On October 29, 2004, Sarah and the Powers went to Crawford's apartment to pick up a few of Sarah's things. Before they separated, Sarah shared the apartment with Crawford. Sarah tried to get Crawford tickets to a sporting event to get him out of the apartment because she was “afraid of an incident” arising from her move. However, Crawford was present in the apartment when Sarah and the Powers arrived. As Sarah expected, Crawford was hostile toward her, refused to allow her to take any of her belongings, and, ultimately, called the police. When the police arrived, they asked Crawford to calm down and to allow Sarah to take her things. However, despite the police officer's request, Crawford's hostile behavior toward Sarah continued. According to the police officer, as Sarah packed up her belongings, Crawford approached her and whispered something in her ear. The officer could not determine what Crawford said to Sarah, but the officer testified that “it was something that obviously upset [Sarah],” because she “immediately stood up and stepped back away from [Crawford].” Sarah then asked Crawford to repeat what he said and asked if Crawford was threatening her. The officer ordered Crawford to back away from Sarah; however, he had to repeat this command several times before Crawford complied. At one point, Mrs. Powers heard Crawford tell Sarah, “You'll pay for this.”

Eventually, the police officers left the apartment, but, sensing that things might not remain peaceful, they remained nearby. After the officers left, Sarah mentioned that she wanted a side table that her parents had given her, and she asked Crawford to unlock the bedroom door so she could retrieve it. Instead of unlocking the door, Crawford said that he would get the table. Mr. Powers was packing up some of Sarah's belongings, when he heard Crawford say, “Here's your god-damned table” and the table “came flying over [Mr. Powers'] right shoulder and ... landed near the sofa and broke....” At that point, the Powers called the police and the same officers immediately responded. The police stayed until Sarah and her family finished packing her things, and then followed them for about a mile to make sure that they got away safely.

Following her encounter with Crawford at the apartment, Sarah went to the Prince William County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court (the “JDR court) and requested a preliminary protective order in order to prevent Crawford from having any further contact with her. In the affidavit for preliminary protective order (hereinafter “the affidavit”), which Sarah signed, she recounted past incidents in which Crawford forcibly raped her, threatened her life, and physically and verbally abused her. In the affidavit, Sarah also stated

[o]n October 30, 2004, [Crawford] called me and told me that I must want to die. He also said he understands why husbands kill their wives. He told me that he would find me and would come to my work.... I am afraid of [Crawford]. I fear he may physically hurt me or even kill me. I want him to stay away from me and my family.

The JDR court granted Sarah's request for a preliminary protective order. 2 In the few weeks that the protective order was in effect, Sarah continued to have contact with Crawford. Telephone records revealed that Crawford and Sarah communicated on several occasions between November 1 and November 18, 2004. Sarah also paid for Crawford to attend a trade school in Kentucky.

As Sarah began to settle into her new life, she tried to take precautions for her own safety. Sarah chose the location of her desk at work because it overlooked the parking lot and allowed her to see if Crawford's vehicle was parked there. In addition, Sarah took a new route home every night after work. According to her supervisor, [Sarah] would never go home the same way two days in a row because she didn't want someone to be able to follow her or know where she was going to be at any particular time, so she would always choose a new way.” Sarah also spoke to her parents several times each day. On November 1, 2004, Sarah sought help from a domestic violence intervention program in Prince William County.

On Thursday, November 18, 2004, Sarah apparently sought to sever her last remaining ties with Crawford. On that day Sarah prepared a document that purported to release her father from any liability on the lease for the apartment that she previously shared with Crawford. Due to Crawford's credit problems, Mr. Powers had co-signed the lease for their apartment. Sarah now wanted her father's name removed from the lease. Because her printer was broken, Sarah asked one of her supervisors to print out the release form on his printer that afternoon. A copy of that release was later recovered from her supervisor's computer. Before Sarah left work on November 18, she informed her supervisor that she would be late the following morning, but she expected to be at the office by 1:00 p.m.

Sarah never made it to work on Friday, November 19, 2004. That morning, a hunter in Fauquier County found a box along the road that belonged to Sarah's employer. Sarah's supervisor testified that she was supposed to ship that box for him. The box had a small amount of Sarah's blood on it. Later that day, the Powers received a telephone call from a person who found Sarah's cell phone lying in the grass near his driveway in Manassas.3 Worried for their daughter's well-being, the Powers made the first of several trips to Sarah's apartment that evening. When they arrived, Sarah and her car were gone, and the apartment was dark. The only sign of life in the apartment was Sarah's pet cat, which came to the glass door and cried.

On the morning of Saturday, November 20, 2004, the Powers went back to Sarah's apartment. Sarah's car was still missing, and her cat was still at the door, crying. Mrs. Powers called Sarah's salon to see if she had arrived at her hair appointment on Saturday morning and was told she had not. The Powers made the fifty-minute round trip from their home to Sarah's apartment three more times on Saturday. Each time they returned, Sarah's cat cried and clawed at the door. The last time the Powers went to Sarah's apartment on Saturday evening was around 8:00 p.m. They found a bottle of wine at the door with a note that said, “Sarah, sorry I missed you. Call me to let me know you're okay.” Sarah had missed her Saturday afternoon date.

On Sunday, November 21, 2004, the Powers were finally able to reach Sarah's landlord, who let them into her apartment. The first thing the Powers noticed was that her cat had no food or water. The Powers had taken care of Sarah's cat when ...

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