Witness: Accused killer made threats to Uniontown man
The day before Kurtavius “Tay” Jermon Smith shot a Uniontown man to death, Smith sent a text message in which he threatened to kill the man for having an affair with Smith's girlfriend, according to trial testimony.
Smith, 28, is charged by Uniontown police with criminal homicide and carrying a gun without a license in the May 13, 2012, shooting death of Marlin “Zeus” Crawford, 28.
“You're (expletive) Zeus,” Smith wrote in one of several text messages sent the day before the Mother's Day shooting, according to his then-girlfriend, Kimberly Johnson of Uniontown.
“I'm gonna kill him,” Johnson testified, as she read from a transcript of the text messages that police downloaded from her cellphone. “That's my (expletive) word.”
Police found the mortally wounded Crawford lying unresponsive on a sidewalk at 4:46 a.m. in the Pershing Court Manor public housing complex. A forensic pathologist on Wednesday testified Crawford died of a single gunshot wound of the forehead.
Johnson testified she was in an on-again, off-again relationship with Smith when he sent the text messages. She testified she did not know for certain who Smith was threatening, but she assumed the threat was directed at Crawford.
Under cross-examination by defense attorney Charles “Chuck” Hoebler of Pittsburgh, Johnson testified she believed Smith sent the messages because he was mad at her for taking his car without his permission and Smith suspected she allowed Crawford to drive it.
Capt. David Rutter of Uniontown police testified Smith denied any knowledge of the shooting when he was first questioned at the police station that morning. Several hours later, Rutter testified, Smith changed his story as he learned more details about the investigation.
“I told him I knew he knew who Zeus was, and we were going to put it all together,” Rutter testified.
In his second statement, Smith told Rutter that when he saw Crawford in the housing complex on May 13, he confronted him “about talking about me.”
Smith told Rutter another man who was with Crawford punched Smith, and both men fell to the ground.
Smith claimed Crawford began to shoot at him, Rutter testified. Smith grabbed a gun he found on the ground and fired back as he stood up and ran away, according to the statement he gave to Rutter.
“I didn't want him to die,” said Smith in his statement, according to Rutter. “I made a mistake. I will do anything to bring him back.”
Smith told Rutter he threw the gun away in an alley near his apartment on Millview Street.
Rutter said he asked Smith why he disposed of the handgun so close to his home. Smith replied, “Because I knew what I'd done.”
Police searched the area where Smith said he tossed the gun, but they did not find it, Rutter testified.
“We scoured the alley from top to bottom, on foot, but we didn't find a gun,” he told jurors.
Testimony is to resume at 10 a.m. Wednesday before Judge Steve Leskinen.
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.
- Building collapses in Connellsville; mound of debris lands in street
- Connellsville focuses on revenues at first budget meeting
- Bullskin supervisors award bids for Spruce Hollow Road bridge project
- Former Holy Trinity church to be remembered in Geibel service
- Annual book sale to be held Saturday at Connellsville’s Carnegie library
- Fayette DA urges end to verbal warfare
- New Fayette County polling places set for Tuesday’s election
- Fayette County woman pleads guilty to trying to kill romantic rival with SUV
- Connellsville parents ask after $14K in baseball club money
- Florida man warns Connellsville junior high schoolers about smoking dangers
- School program to offer incentives to keep elementary students reading in Connellsville