Murder case sent to grand jury
STEUBENVILLE – A 40-year-old city man was stabbed 93 times in his upper torso, his arms and the back of the neck last week but died from blunt force trauma to the brain.
The first details of a fatal confrontation in the early morning hours of Sept. 15 in the Cathedral Apartment residence of Terry Shust were heard Wednesday during a preliminary hearing in Steubenville Municipal Court that saw 18-year-old Dallas Crokie bound over to the Jefferson County grand jury on a murder charge.
Crokie, wearing an orange jail uniform and hand and ankle shackles, sat quietly during the two-part hearing and did not testify.
But testimony from Steubenville Police Department detective John Stasiulewicz provided some information about the Saturday night meeting between Shust and Crokie, an evening of drinking beer in Shust’s apartment and a struggle that left Shust dead.
According to Stasiulewicz, Crokie told investigators during two interviews he was visiting his father at the Fort Steuben Apartments when he first met Shust.
“The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department contacted our department shortly before 8 a.m. on Sept. 16 and said a man had arrived at the Justice Center saying he had killed a man and wanted to turn himself in. When I arrived at the Justice Center I saw Jefferson County Deputy Gary Slates standing outside of the Justice Center with the defendant who was hugging his girlfriend and his father. There was a bag that contained jeans and a T-shirt with blood on the clothing as well as a pair of scissors,” explained Stasiulewicz during testimony at the preliminary hearing.
“After I read the defendant his Miranda rights he told me he had killed a guy and wanted to turn himself in. He said they had met at the Fort Steuben Apartments and Terry invited him back to his apartment to drink beer. After several hours Mr. Crokie said Terry invited him to stay because he didn’t want him getting arrested for being intoxicated. The defendant said Terry got emotional about his kids and so he hugged Terry. The defendant said he went into the apartment bathroom to change clothes and that is when Terry allegedly threw open the door and came into the bathroom holding a pair of scissors and made the defendant perform a sex act,” stated Stasiulewicz.
“The defendant told me he pushed the scissors away and ran into the main room where a struggle took place. The defendant said he was able to get the scissors and started to stab Terry. He said he kept stabbing him and then stood up and fainted or passed out onto the bed. He told me he woke up around 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon. He said he didn’t know what happened. He cleaned himself off and threw several towels and beer cans into a garbage bag and left to return to his apartment on Commercial Alley,” continued Stasiulewicz.
Stasiulewicz said he and Bureau of Criminal Investigation Agent Ed Lulla went to the Cathedral Apartments to gather evidence.
“The defendant didn’t remember the name of the deceased so I asked him if he could show us where the apartment was located. The defendant was brought to the apartment building by Deputy Slates. He took us to the apartment door where a building maintenance man unlocked the door. There was a lot of blood in the room and on the walls. The defendant admitted taking a garbage bag of items from the apartment but said he didn’t remember where he put the bag,” said Stasiulewicz.
“The defendant had a black eye and rug burns on his elbows and knees and a small scratch on his chest,” noted Stasiulewicz.
He said Crokie weighs approximately 160 pounds and Shust weighed about 230 pounds.
The preliminary hearing was extended following lengthy arguments Wednesday morning by Police Prosecutor John Mascio and defense attorney Steve Stickles regarding the defense subpoena for Shust’s medical records from Jefferson Behavioral Health.
Mascio objected to providing the medical records and Spahn ruled against giving Stickles access to the records but agreed to keep the sealed records in his office pending an appeal of the ruling.
Spahn also agreed to supply Stickles with a copy of the preliminary hearing transcripts so Stickles can forward the information to the Ohio Public Defender’s office for a possible appeal.
Crokie remains in the Jefferson County Justice Center facing a murder charge.
(Gossett can be contacted at email@example.com.)