The Murder of Crystal Faye Todd, Teenager Brutally Murdered By Friend She Trusted

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Crystal Faye Todd (January 4, 1974 – November 17, 1991)

Conway, South Carolina, was experiencing a cool Saturday evening on November 16, 1991. Located in Horry County, only a dozen miles from Myrtle Beach, the small southern community had not long settled from the resort season’s large influx of tourists. Most of the stores, hotels and restaurants were back to doing regular business. Traffic on the streets had thinned and the town’s citizens were pleased to return to their normal routines.

Conway’s teenagers traditionally spent Saturday night downtown at its only mall. The teens all knew each other and attended the same high school. Coastal Mall was the place to be seen. They would cruise around, exchange small talk, make plans and just hang out.

Attractive 17-year-old Crystal Faye Todd was in her senior year at Conway High School. She was popular and well-liked among her classmates and a good student. Shoulder-length brown hair framed her bright blue eyes and ever-present smile. Although only five-feet-three inches tall, Crystal’s vivacious personality augmented her petite frame.

Early that evening, Crystal attended her grandmother’s birthday dinner party in the neighboring community of Toddsville. At 7 p.m. Crystal left the party and climbed into her new 1991 Celica. Her mother, Bonnie Faye Todd, had given her the car as an early graduation present. Crystal was happy to be driving again. Her license had been suspended for an accident she had while driving under the influence of alcohol. The car was her pride and joy and even had her name “C TODD” emblazoned on a personalized plate.

Crystal Todd was no different than her schoolmates. She looked forward to joining them at the mall, realizing there would not be many more opportunities for her to do so. Graduation was only several months away and she and many of her classmates would be moving on with their lives and careers.

When Crystal arrived at the mall, she hung out with friends. By 8 p.m. she was standing in the parking lot talking with a girlfriend. At 9 p.m. both girls left the mall in Crystal’s car and drove to a party that was being held at a friend’s home in the Punchbowl community. It was almost 9:30 by the time they arrived. At 11 p.m., Crystal and her girlfriend left the party. Her friend had an 11:15 curfew and had to get back to the mall where her car was parked. Crystal dropped her girlfriend off at her car in the parking lot. Crystal drove off, not seeming to be in a hurry. She and her mother had agreed upon a curfew time of midnight. Click here to continue reading the Crystal Faye Todd murder case by Crime Library

You can also watch Crystal Faye Todd: Conway, SC (Investigation Discovery full episode) on YouTube

“Take me to my King”: Texas Death Row Inmate, Rickey Lynn Lewis, Executed Tuesday (Star-Telegram)

rickey-lewis-executedHUNTSVILLE, Texas (Star-Telegram) —

A Texas convict with a lengthy criminal history was executed Tuesday evening for fatally shooting a man and raping the slain man’s fiancee during a home break-in more than 22 years ago.

Rickey Lynn Lewis already had been in and out of prison five times in less than seven years when he was arrested three days after the killing of 45-year-old George Newman and attack on Newman’s fiancee in 1990 at their home in a rural area of Smith County, about 90 miles east of Dallas.

Lewis, 50, acknowledged the rape, but not the killing.

“If I hadn’t raped you, you wouldn’t have lived,” he told Newman’s fiancee, Connie Hilton, in the moments before the single lethal dose of pentobarbital was administered. “I didn’t kill Mr. Newman and I didn’t rob your house.

“I was just there. … I’m sorry for what you’ve gone through. It wasn’t me that harmed and stole all of your stuff,” he said to Hilton, who stood behind a glass window a few feet away. The Associated Press normally does not name rape victims, but Hilton, 63, agreed to be identified.

Lewis said the two people responsible for Newman’s killing are still alive. He didn’t identify them.

He told Hilton he watched her flee the house to get help. “When I saw you in the truck driving away, I could have killed you, but I didn’t,” he said. “I’m not a killer.”

Lewis thanked his friends who watched through a nearby window “for the love you gave me.”

“I thank the Lord for the man I am today. I have done all I can to better myself, to learn to read and write,” he said, appearing to choke back tears. “Take me to my king.”

As the drug began taking effect, he said he could feel it “burning my arm.”

“I feel it in my throat. I’m getting dizzy,” Lewis said before he started to snore and, seconds later, lost consciousness.

He was pronounced dead 14 minutes after the lethal dose began.

The U.S. Supreme Court last week refused to review Lewis’ case and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles unanimously voted against a clemency request.

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Current mugshot photo of Lewis

No last-day appeals were filed by his attorneys to try to halt the execution, the second this year in Texas.

Earlier appeals focused on whether Lewis, a ninth-grade dropout who worked as a laborer, was mentally impaired and ineligible for the death penalty under Supreme Court rulings. The claims included a suggestion from Lewis’ attorneys that the court reconsider a denial it made in his case in 2005. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals refused that recommendation on Monday.

Hilton declined to speak with reporters after the execution. In a first-person account she wrote of the attack, she said she got out of bed the night of Sept. 17, 1990, after her barking dog woke her and saw a man in the hallway with a shotgun.

She screamed, and Newman responded and was shot in the face. A dog in the home was also killed.

Hilton tried hiding in a bathroom, was struck at least twice in the head and then assaulted for over an hour by Lewis while the other two people Lewis claims were there stole items from the house.

She testified she was ordered to “quit whimpering,” felt a gun barrel on her and was told someone would find her in the morning.

According to court documents, she was left in the kitchen with her hands and feet bound. As Lewis and his partners fled in her truck, she managed to free herself, crawled to Newman to find him dead and then climbed out a window to seek help.

Lewis was arrested three days later after he was seen with some of the items stolen from the house. DNA evidence linked him to the attack.

“There’s still a lot of fear in the back of my mind because the other two men never were caught,” Hilton told the AP last week. “You never know if there’s going to be retaliation.

“He’s never told anyone and as far as I’m aware of, nobody knows. On the other hand, if he were to tell who was with him, that would confirm his guilt, and he’s not going to do that.”

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in 1996 upheld Lewis’ conviction but reversed his death sentence, finding jurors had faulty instructions when considering his sentence. At a new punishment trial the following year, Lewis again was sentenced to die.

Lewis’ mother, who has since died, testified a 10-year-old Lewis shot his father to protect her. Testimony indicated Lewis’ father had abused him as a child.

Records showed Lewis first went to prison in 1983 for burglary, was paroled and returned to prison as a parole violator. He continued to be a repeat offender and parole violator. His arrest on capital murder charges for Newman’s slaying came six months after his most recent release.

Evidence showed two months before the Newman shooting he stole a truck and led police on a chase. Then four days before the attack, Lewis used a sawed-off shotgun during a store robbery in Tyler.

At least 11 other Texas inmates have executions scheduled through July, including three more this month.

Source of article: Star Telegram

Oklahoma Death Row Inmate Executed Tuesday For The Murder of Three People

steven-ray-thackerMugshot photo of Steven R. Thacker

Steven Ray Thacker, now 42, was sentenced to death for the murders of three people during the Holiday Season in 1999. He was put to death by lethal injection Yesterday, March 12, 2013 at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary, after sitting on death row for 13 years.

Victim #1: On December 23, 1999 Laci Dawn Griffin Hill, 25, from Bixby, OK. Hill had placed a classified ad in the local newspaper in an attempt to sell her pool table. Thacker spotted the ad and figured it was a good opportunity so he answered the ad and made his way to Hill’s home where he raped, murdered and robbed her. Hill’s body was discovered in an abandoned cabin on December 29, 1999, just two days before the New Years Day 2000. Thacker used the items and money he had stolen from Hill and purchased presents for his wife and her two children. His would claim the lives of two more people until his capture on January 2, 2000.

Authorities soon identified Thacker on surveillance camera using Hill’s debit card but by then he had already made his way to his next victim in the neighboring state of Missouri, approximately 200 miles from Bixby.

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Photo of Laci Hill

Laci Hill’s Find A Grave

Victim #2: On New Years Day 2000 Thacker stabbed Forrest Reed Boyd, 25, after Boyd walked in on Thacker burglarizing his Aldrich, MO home. He stole Boyd’s vehicle and made his way down to Dyersburg, Tennessee.

Forrest Reed Boyd’s Find A Grave

Victim #3: Ray Patterson, 52, was a tow truck driver Dyersburg, TN. It just so happens that he was working at the time Thacker’s stolen vehicle broke down.  He contacted the tow service and when Patterson noticed the credit card used to pay for the service was stolen, he was stabbed to death.

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Photo of Raymond Patterson

Thacker received two death sentences for the murders of Hill and Paterson. He received life without parole for pleading guilty to killing Boyd.

According to reports, he had a personality disorder but refused medication which would have helped his mood swings.

When asked if he had any last words he went on to apologize for his actions.

“”I would like to apologize sincerely to the families of Laci Hill, Forrest Boyd and Ray Patterson. I don’t deserve it, but as God has forgiven me, I hope you will forgive me for the pain I’ve caused.”

Thacker then winked at his stepfather, Donald Johnston, who silently nodded back at him. He was administered the lethal cocktails moments later at 6:03PM. He was pronounced dead at 6:10PM

When the execution was over, Nikki Hodgson, a friend of Hill’s, spoke about the experience saying it brought “a little bit of closure,” but that she didn’t believe the punishment was just.

“It is so humane,” she said of lethal injection. Thacker is “just going to sleep. It’s nothing like what the victims endured.”

“When something like this happens … you never truly move on. You just survive. It never leaves you, and this won’t make it leave you,” Marnie Reed, Hill’s best friend said after the execution.

According to the Death Penalty Information Website, last year there were 43 people on Oklahoma’s death row. Six were put to death bringing the toll down to 37, and Thacker is the first to be put to death this year which brings the toll to 36. He was the fifth death row inmate to have been put to death in the United States this year.

Darren Dee O’Neall – Sexual Predator And Serial Killer

darren_o'neallFull Name: Darren Dee O’Neall
Date of Birth: Born February 26, 1960 in Albuquerque, NM
Characteristics & Traits: Pathological liar, thief, dead beat father, drifter, sociopath, rapist, murderer
Number of victims: Six (known victims)
Location of Murders: Washington – Oregon – Idaho – Utah – USA
Date of murders: Threw out 1987
Date of arrest: September 22, 1987
Age at time of arrest: 27
Method of Murder: Stabbing with knife / Hitting with a hammer
Motive of Murder: Sexual Predator

Darren O’Neall didn’t have a positive childhood which would mold him into the person he became. A psychopath.

O’Neall grew up a pathological liar and when he hit his teen years he became interested in watching and performing violent sex acts and taking part in illegal behavior. He had impregnated woman and left them to fend parenthood alone. A transient, he traveled the western United States reading the novels of his favorite author, Louis L’Amour, who would regularly write books about cowboys, Indians, gunslinger, outlaws, Texas Rangers and frontier marshals. O’Neall envisioned himself as the characters he read about and even assumed alias’ using their names.

As a teenager he would commit petty thefts and other illegal activity. He never had a proper home life to give him any balance and his behavior continued to grow more dark. As he grew older he started frequenting bars and pubs and remained a loner who went unnoticed among the public. In fact, aside from family and the few friendships he managed to have, it seemed the only people who knew about O’Neall were different Law Enforcement agencies throughout several states. Officers would describe him as a man who kept on his feet most likely in an attempt to stay one step ahead of the law.

Petty thefts would soon turn  to burglary and robbery, carjackings and then assaults, and in 1987 his crimes would turn fatal and ruin the lives of many families.

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Robin Pamela Smith, born in New Britain, CT, on April 4, 1965. On the night of March 28, 1987 when she was 22 years old, she left her home for a party with her new friend, “Herb Johnson”. Family and friends didn’t know much about her new male friend. They also didn’t think for a moment that she would never return home.

Photo of Robin Smith as a child (age 11)

On May 1, 1987, over one month after Robin vanished, police found her vehicle abandoned near Marysville, north of Seattle, WA. When they searched the trunk they found her bloody clothes and several of her teeth. She had been bludgeoned to death with a hammer. Police already feared the worst but after the gruesome discovery they were certain of her death and immediately started to investigate to determine a possible suspect. A check on the vehicles registration revealed it had been stolen two weeks prior in Nampa, Idaho.

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Photos of Robin’s bloodstained coat and bloody sock

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Photo of the stolen car where police found Robin’s teeth and bloody clothes

The owner of the vehicle was a trucker who recalled the thief in vivid detail. He described a young, blonde man with the word “JUNE” tattooed on the knuckles of his left hand. The trucker had picked him up and offered him a place to stay the night.

Apparently no deed goes unpunished and when the trucker woke up the following morning the unidentified man was gone and his vehicle had been stolen along with his licensed gun, a .357 magnum revolver.

The tattoo description gave authorities a clue which would eventually lead to the culprit. A culprit who was running from child support payments after abandoning his wife and child six years earlier. Sadly, by the time Robin wasn’t the first nor the last victim of the killers bloody rampage on woman.

Read Crime Library – Serial Killer Darren O’Neall for the full in-depth look into the life of Darren D. O’Neall, before, during and after his murder spree.

For shorter versions of this case, read Murdapedia – Darren D. O’Neall for a list of articles.