Fayette DA to seek death penalty in stabbing
A Fayette County man accused of fatally stabbing a North Union woman showed no emotion on Thursday when he learned he will face the possibility of the death penalty.
Henry Clay Crawford, 56, who was secured with handcuffs and leg shackles, stood silently next to his attorney in arraignment court as District Attorney Jack Heneks Jr. announced his intention to seek the death penalty.
In a prepared statement, Heneks said he hopes his action would send a message to other abusers that they could face the “ultimate penalty.”
State police have accused Crawford of 227 Christmas St., North Union, of fatally stabbing Lisa Faye Tupta, 49, in her North Union residence on Jan. 28.
Police said Crawford kicked in the door to Tupta's residence on Easter Street in the Holiday Mobile Home Park and stabbed her in the abdomen, neck and right hand. Tupta bled to death, according to an autopsy report. Troopers found Crawford hiding in a bedroom closet.
He was taken to Uniontown Hospital for treatment of puncture wounds on his stomach and neck, according to Trooper Thomas Broadwater, who testified during Crawford's Feb. 13 preliminary hearing.
Crawford learned that prosecutors will seek the death penalty as he was arraigned before Judge John F. Wagner Jr. on charges of homicide and burglary. Contacted by phone after the announcement, Tupta's stepfather, Wayne Crable, declined comment because he was unaware of the decision to seek the death penalty.
In the notice of his intent to seek the death penalty, Heneks listed aggravating circumstances of a killing perpetrated during the commission of a felony, torture and Crawford's prior history of violent felony convictions. In addition, Heneks cited an active protection from abuse court order that forbade Crawford from having any contact with Tupta.
“I do not make this decision lightly, as I am acutely aware of the ultimate consequence my decision can bring,” Heneks said in a prepared statement.
In the release, Heneks said seeking the death penalty against Crawford sends a message to others who commit domestic violence.
“It should be clear to any perpetrator or potential perpetrator of domestic violence that his or her actions are, or could become, harmful to the victims of those assaults and could result in the ultimate penalty for their actions.”
Crawford has a lengthy history of violence toward women, according to court records, including the protection order that Tupta sought after two violent encounters with Crawford. Criminal charges were filed in both instances, but they were dismissed when Tupta refused to testify.
Heneks said in the release he has ordered personnel who work with victims of domestic violence to set up protocols and standards aimed at protecting victims and encouraging them to follow through with prosecutions.
“It saddens me when our office is requested by victims to drop charges against perpetrators of these crimes,” Heneks said. “While I understand the reasons articulated by those victims for doing so, the consequences of halting prosecutions are haunting, as the instant prosecution demonstrates.”
Crawford is being held in the Fayette County Prison without bond.
Liz Zemba is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Man dies in jump from Route 130 overpass onto passing tractor-trailer in Hempfield
- Penguins a love affair for Evancho sisters
- Starkey: Penguins’ season impressive so far
- Pitt football team working to fatten up QB sack total on defense
- Pirates’ search for division title rests on starting rotation’s health
- Police investigate pair of fatal rush hour incidents in Shaler, Marshall
- Hornqvist’s net-front presence with Penguins could be valuable asset
- Pittsburgh Police charge Allentown couple with abusing pit bull puppy
- The Wine Cellar: Wine can enhance, balance the traditional dishes of Passover, Easter
- Nutrition organization-sponsored conference busts whole-grain myths
- Pirates again approach Polanco about contract extension