Twenty-eight year old Keane Alexander Crawford, who ran unsuccessfully for the East Anchorage Assembly seat (Section 5 Seat H) under the name of Alex Crawford, is accused of shooting 40-year-old Anthony Brown multiple times in the chest. Crawford has been charged with first-degree murder (of Brown) and assault (of his wife). KTUU reports that he has also been charge with DUI, failure to appear in court, and possession of a firearm while intoxicated in a brief court appearance on Sunday. He argued it was self defense. "I was assaulted and I only shot in defense of myself and my family," he said. "I was the victim of a crime."
Here's a summary of the situation. The dispute is believed to have originated with an incident at Anthony Brown's home at 2306 W. 45th Avenue in Spenard when Crawford allegedly hit his wife and gave her a black eye during an argument. Apparently Brown attempted to intervene. The argument between Crawford and Brown got out of hand and, according to court documents, Kerri Nichols, who is both Crawford's stepsister and Brown's boyfriend, says Brown pushed Crawford and held him down. Crawford told police Brown choked him until he was unconscious and that when he came to, he shot at Brown so he and his family could escape. Witnesses variably estimate Crawford shot anywhere from four to twelve times. Brown died instantly after multiple gunshot wounds to his chest.
Crawford then left the residence with his family and headed north. They were ultimately stopped by the Alaska State Troopers in the Wasilla area. Both Brown and Crawford have histories of run-ins with law enforcement, according to court records. Crawford's includes misconduct with weapons and driving while intoxicated charges, the records show. Most of the cases for both men are from Fairbanks.
A new report from KTUU now provides more information. Harley Brown, vice chairman of the Alaska Libertarian Party and no relation to the victim, says he's known Crawford for five years and he never expected this. "He usually would carry a weapon that I had known of before to sometimes keep himself protected," Brown said. "Again, I don't know what happened. But he was always a person that would not normally go off and rant and rave and try to shoot people".
Likewise, state Libertarian Party secretary Rob Clift says he's very surprised by allegation that Crawford harmed his wife. "My dealings with Alex has always been that he was quite the family man," Clift said. "He doted on his boys and seemed to have a very fine relationship with Marie, his wife".
Alex Crawford has been the subject of previous posts on this blog. He ran as a Libertarian for the U.S. House seat in 2006, finishing third in a field of five with 4,029 votes, or 1.72 percent of the total. On February 26th, 2007, I first reported on his Assembly campaign against Ken Stout and Sheila Selkregg, then posted again on March 28th. He finished third behind Selkregg and Stout in the April 7th municipal election. Crawford was also active in Ron Paul's Alaska campaign, discussed HERE.
As expected, people are piling on Crawford in the Daily News comments section. Here's one particularly interesting comment from someone who attended a class with him:
Ichiban907 wrote on 12/08/2008 03:33:31 PM:
Crawford is an idiot. I had class with him. He's an advocate for an Independent Alaska, even by force. He came dressed in a flak vest once to class to illustrate that point. He has a nickel's worth of understanding of the Constitution and is downright scary when he talks about it. Give it a week, I bet he's spouting off in court about how the court has no jurisdiction because of the gold-fringed flag and stuff like that. If he decides to act as his own attorney this is going to get downright ridiculous. One of the "previous run ins" with the law in Fairbanks involved him getting flagged in a routine traffic stop and ended with him getting maced and tased because he attacked one of the cops. I feel sorry for the family of his victim.
According to the new KTUU report, Alex Crawford now seems to have a stronger case for self-defense. His next hearing is on Tuesday December 9th.