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The man in the middle of a deadly love triangle was nowhere to be found.
"Jermeir Stroud caused a perfect storm to happen and walked away from it," said Superior Court Judge Ronald Stephens, after a 12-member jury found Stroud's former mistress, Shannon Crawley, guilty of killing his fiancee, Denita Smith. Four months after the murder, police say, Crawley concocted a story in which Stroud forced her to Durham then left her in her Ford Explorer as he climbed to the second floor of Smith's apartment building, argued with her, shot her in the back of the head, ran back to the vehicle, shoved his handgun into his waistband, then hid in the back seat as she drove away.
Mistrial rejected On Monday, Holmes called for a mistrial after the jury asked to listen again to the tapes, even some they hadn't heard when Assistant District Attorney David Saacks had introduced them into evidence last week.
Stephens said Crawley had had access to the tapes for the past two years and could have addressed any portion of them during the trial.
Blaming Stroud In an emotional interview outside the courtroom Monday, Crawley's father again pointed the finger at the man who patrols the streets of Greensboro as a police officer.
"If it's the last thing I ever do, I will prove that he is the one who committed this murder," said Keith Crawley, who with his wife sat for two weeks behind their daughter in a courtroom filled with loved ones seeking justice for Smith.
"I won't rest and I won't stop until he's where he belongs, in jail." Crawley was a 911 operator in Greensboro at the time of the crime. Jurors deliberated for about seven hours over two days before convicting Shannon Elizabeth Crawley of first-degree murder in the Jan. Smith, 25, was shot in the head at Campus Crossing Apartments in Durham and then fell down a stairwell to the sidewalk, where a maintenance man found her body, police said.
"Someday, I may forgive you, but I don't right now," Smith's mother, Sharon Smith, told Crawley during sentencing.
Hands shot up in jubilation when Stephens announced the verdict, and heads nodded when he directed partial blame toward Stroud, who faces no charges in the crime.