Second-Degree Murder Conviction Overturned After Prosecutor Calls Defendant a “Crackhead”

| by Lina Batarags

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — A second-degree murder conviction was overturned because of flawed jury instructions and improper comments by a prosecutor, who repeatedly called the defendant a “crackhead.”

Jerry Roy Crew was charged with participating in a robbery in April 2011 that led to the death of 19-year-old Donnell “DJ” Ellis.

According to the Daytona Beach News-Journal, in Dec. 2010, Crew was sentenced to 30 years for murder and 15 more for robbery – even though he was unarmed, and did not fatally shoot Ellis. Crew and Ellis were among four men who attempted to rob a drug dealer at a motel; Ellis was killed during gunfire exchange.

Daily News reports that the prosecutor referred to Crew as “nothing more than a hopeless old crack addict” and “our favorite crackhead.”

The 5th District Court of Appeals’ decision to overturn the conviction means that 57-year-old Crew will now get a new trial on the charges.

The justices wrote that the trial judges should have done more to address the improper comments made by Assistant State Attorney J. Ryan Will during closing arguments. They also noted that the language that was used degraded and demeaned Crew.

State Attorney’s Office spokesman Spencer Hathaway stated that Crew will remain incarcerated. However, he now has the right to file a motion for bond.

Sources: WFTV, Daily News

Photo Sources: Daily News, KWGN