Monday, December 08, 2008

Former Anchorage Libertarian Assembly Candidate Alex Crawford Charged With First Degree Murder In Shooting Death Of Anthony Brown

A libertarian activist and former U.S. House candidate and Anchorage Assembly candidate is in jail, charged with murdering his stepsister's boyfriend late Saturday December 6th, 2008. Full stories published by the Anchorage Daily News and KTUU Channel 2 (with video). Also discussed on the DailyPaul and ADN's Alaska Politics blog. I delayed this post because there are conflicts in details between the two media stories. Other sources do not contain enough information to resolve the conflicts. I consider the Daily News story to be more reliable.

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.


  1. Dear Reader:

    First, we are talking Libertarians here, so the whole thing about the "choking and passing out" sounded pretty suspecious. Look, my Libertarian mates, the Anchorage PD have better things to do than to sort stuff like this out. He came to and shot the man 10 times?

    Oh please, - that isn't self defense, - that's target practice.

  2. The whole incident still sounds murky. This seems out of character for him, although anyone can snap, I suppose.

    Heck, the media couldn't even make up his mind whether Crawford's woman was his girl friend or his wife. The Anchorage Daily News at least had that part right all along.

  3. The media seems to have more invested in slamming Crawford for his unbelievably admirable past than for his questionable present. I never once saw him mistreat Marie, and I know he loved his boys. Crawford is a self-taught lawyer who took three individual rights cases to the Alaska Supreme court and won them all. His prior conflicts with law enforcement were all initiated by unjust practices of "modern" law enforcement.

    Crawford defended the rights of all Alaskans with his legal victories, which were on par with the battle of Lenny Bruce for free speech. (In one case, Keane was accosted by a rogue State Trooper who arrested him because he refused to comply with unwarranted demands for servility and compliance. The next time an officer of the law treats you with disrespect, remember that it might have been ten times worse without Keane Crawford.)

    I'm not saying he's innocent. ...I don't know. But the smear tactics in both of the articles (even the unintentional ones in the KTUU report, regarding his supposed history of "gun violations") paint a one-sided picture.

    Gun ownership is legal in Alaska, largely thanks to people like Crawford. There are going to be cries for disarmament now, in large part to the fact that the gun culture of America is dying for lack of a philosophy of freedom. If this is true, then those who finally succeed in outlawing guns will be guilty of the mass murder which always follows that event. Ironically, Crawford was at the forefront of the battle to make certain that power was decentralized to the people, so that mass murder could never happen in the USA.

    It's a bitter irony if any of the allegations are true (again, I have no knowledge, since I wasn't there). Keane once brought a DVD to the Anchorage Libertarian Party meetup called "Innocents Betrayed". It showed how --in every government mass murder (democide) during peacetime in the last 100 years-- there were always laws on the books that disarmed the minority that was being killed. The video even showed the actual laws that were on the books, including the ones that disarmed the Tutsis before the Rwanda genocide.

    Crawford stood as one individual, going against the grain of mainstream society, against the coming economic crash, against gun control. He stood for property rights, that were once oncontroversial in the USA. He refused welfare when he was in dire financial straights. In my opinion, nothing speaks more highly of his character than his convictions.

    Crawford is not just an advocate of gun rights, he was a tireless advocate of jury rights. I have never met someone more informed than him on the subject. Far from being "a violent individual" he was a thinker, and never backed down from assaults on his integrity, from the State or anyone else.

    I am interested in hearing what Marie has to say about the incident. Nothing excuses wife beating, but what exactly were the circumstances? Did the person who choked Crawford think that there would be no consequences to his actions? In the past when police were called on Crawford, he submitted to them (even if he argued with them). He knew better than to draw his weapon on police.

    But what exactly were the circumstances that led to him being choked unconscious? What exactly did he see when he awoke? Did his attacker run towards him, seeing that he was coming to? Those questions are unanswered by these stories, and they comprise the heart of the matter.

    The students that were in the pilot law program with Crawford all wanted to be prosecutors (the kind of people who have filled our prisons with innocent people, guilty only of gun or drug ownership). Keane was alone in his class wanting to be a defense attorney, because he has seen how voir dire stacks the odds against the innocent. Very few people in our society have that level of education. Most people know that "something has gone wrong" with our justice system, but they can't put it into words.

    If Crawford is guilty, then Anchorage has lost one of its treasures that it didn't even know it had.

    The entire occurrence is a complete tragedy, no matter how anyone looks at it.

    One thing that is beyond question, however, was Crawford's sense of justice. He always stood against tyrants, as the outnumbered voice of freedom.

    Perhaps it drove him mad, the fact that the rest of society was re-enacting the decay of the Weimar Republic, while he was an outcast for preaching the enlightenment ideals that everyone in the US "allegedly" believes in.

    If Crawford goes down in flames, it shouldn't be because he believed in free trade and gun rights. It should be because a randomly chosen (not prosecutor-selected) jury of his peers found him guilty of initiating force with a firearm.

    It is my strong suspicion that the more we learn about this case, the larger the role Anthony Brown's actions will play in his own demise. Was the shooting justified? That's for a jury of Crawford's peers to decide.

    ...They will be hard to find.

  4. He shot someone so it doesn't matter what he ran for and under what political party.

    I am sure you are PROUD of your DAD,
    He protected your aunt MARIE.

    Kenneth Alexander Crawford

  6. I am speechless... I have known Keane for a while, weve gone shooting, clubbing, camping, studying... Never once have I seen him to be the person that is portrayed on the news. I showed my girlfriend this story and she was horrified that I even knew a man "that evil". Something is sadly mistaken, I only pray that Marie and the boys have the wear with all to to defy the media and this this dark image imposed upon him him.

    Keane is a fre

  7. I dated Keane when we were both teenagers. He was in and out of jail then and only released on his 18th birthday because he was given a second chance. He hit me on two different occasions, after the second time I left him. He is an extremely disturbed individual who had a tough childhood and blames the government for all his problems. Keane has no sense of personal responsibility. When I heard about what happened I wasn't surprised, I knew it was only a matter of time. Frankly, I'm so thankful that we had parted ways. I'll be praying for his family.

  8. First of all i just want to say that Alex Crawford may have been an Activist and against the government, and a few people agree with his views. Good for him that he taught himself law. Did he actually go to school? Just because Sadam was smart doesn't mean he wasn't a murderer. Alex deserves to be in Jail. Self deffence my butt. How can you claim self-deffence after you beat on your wife (girlfriend)? I grew up with both of them and he has been a trouble maker his whole life. Just because you see him quote history or beliefs that you agree with doesn't mean anything. It is wrong to kill. Read the bible, and if you don't believe in god that would explain everything. Your an idiot.

  9. I know the familiy, Keene is a drunk, abusive man that can feed anyone a good line of B.S. He is unbalanced in the head. Just cause you all see this outter imagine, you never saw what took place behind closed doors. He's an evil soul.

  10. What ever came of his case? Was he convicted and sentenced?

  11. he was convicted - there is a sentencing hearing June 25 and final sentencing Aug 20 -