North Union man charged with fatal stabbing of woman in mobile home park
By Liz Zemba
Published: Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
A Fayette County man who police said stabbed a woman to death expressed remorse while he was being treated in a hospital for his own wounds, according to a state trooper.
Henry Clay Crawford, 56, of 227 Christmas St., North Union, was held for trial on charges of homicide, aggravated assault and burglary in a preliminary hearing on Wednesday before District Judge Wendy Dennis.
State police at Uniontown have accused Crawford of kicking in the door to a residence at Holiday Inn Mobile Home Park on Jan. 28 and fatally stabbing Lisa Faye Tupta, 49.
Tupta bled to death when her abdominal aorta was slashed, according to an autopsy report. Police found Crawford hiding in a bedroom closet. He was taken to Uniontown Hospital for treatment of puncture wounds on his stomach and neck, Trooper Thomas Broadwater testified Wednesday.
Broadwater said Crawford, who was under police guard at the hospital, wrote two letters while he was in the emergency room.
“These were remorseful statements, letters,” Broadwater testified. “The first one was to Lisa Tupta. The second one was to Mason Tupta, who is Lisa's son.”
After the hearing, Broadwater said Crawford apologized in the first letter for “hurting” Lisa Tupta. In the letter to her son, Crawford expressed sorrow and claimed “it was an accident,” Broadwater said.
Crawford did not testify during the hearing and declined comment as troopers escorted him, handcuffed and shackled, to and from the hearing. Police have not said how he sustained wounds.
His mother, Vivian Crawford, who attended the hearing in a wheelchair, said she is “sorry it all happened.”
Lisa Tupta's mother, Peggy Crable, and her sister, Justine Davis, declined comment.
During the hearing, neighbor Roger Lee Campbell testified he and his wife, Jodi, were watching television when they heard the sound of glass breaking. He went to a kitchen window and saw the screen door to Tupta's residence hanging open.
He said the front door was dented and appeared to have been kicked in. Campbell said he went outside, where he heard a man and woman arguing inside Tupta's mobile home.
“They were loud,” Campbell testified. “I could make out Lisa saying, ‘Get out of my house.'”
Campbell said his wife called 911, but soon after, the arguing stopped.
“Everything went quiet,” Campbell testified. “I kind of thought maybe the argument had resolved itself.”
Trooper Robert Warman testified he and three other troopers arrived at the trailer within five minutes of the 911 call. He and one trooper went to the rear door, where Warman saw Crawford standing in the doorway with a knife in one hand.
“He had a scared look on his face,” Warman said. “I asked him to drop the knife and put his hands up.”
Warman said he and another trooper entered the home when Crawford retreated inside. Warman found Crawford hiding in a bedroom closet, and another trooper pulled him out.
Warman testified a knife was found in the closet. Another knife, covered in blood, was found on a kitchen counter.
Tupta was seated on a living room couch, Warman testified. She was taking shallow breaths but did not respond to the troopers, he said. A trooper obtained a medical kit from a patrol car and applied pressure to a wound on her neck until an ambulance arrived.
Broadwater said Crawford wrote the two letters to Lisa Tupta and her son at Uniontown Hospital, but later invoked his right not to speak to police.
Crawford is 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.
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