Man shot mail carrier with hopes of jail time, he says

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by SeaFox, Jul 14, 2005.

  1. SeaFox macrumors 68020

    SeaFox

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    #1
    Man shot mail carrier with hopes of jail time, he says

    SNELLVILLE, Ga. (AP) — Earl Lazenby had delivered mail for years to the aging brown home with overgrown plants in the yard and a National Rifle Association sticker on the front door. The home's owner was always friendly, sometimes chatting with Lazenby at the grocery store in this Atlanta suburb.

    But what Lazenby didn't know was that William Crutchfield was deep in debt and looking for a way out. Authorities say Crutchfield apparently watched with envy as Olympic bomber Eric Rudolph was headed to prison for life and aspired to the same fate — allowing him to live off the government while behind bars.

    So he allegedly hatched a twisted plan: Kill a federal employee.

    Two weeks ago, Crutchfield walked down his driveway carrying a .380-caliber pistol and greeted his mail carrier at the curb. He then opened fire on Lazenby, drove to the police station in his Chevrolet Cavalier and told the secretary, "I just shot the letter carrier."

    "He took his mail and then said, 'Hello.' And then just started shooting," Lazenby said from his hospital bed Tuesday. "He just casually got in his car and drove away."

    Lazenby was shot seven times, once in the arm and six times in the abdomen. A neighbor heard shots, came outside and called 911 as the 52-year-old grandfather lay in the grass of a nearby lawn thinking he might die.

    When Lazenby came out of surgery hours later, he learned that he had suffered extensive damage — 29 holes in his colon and intestines, shattered bones in his arm. He would live, but he would never be able to digest food or produce insulin by himself.

    Meanwhile, Crutchfield was telling police his startling motive. It had nothing to do with Lazenby, but instead was a way out of medical debt, he told police.

    "He was saying that he wanted to be cared for by the federal government, that he was in poor health and wanted to be taken care of," said Atlanta postal inspector Tracey Jefferson.

    Crutchfield, a 60-year-old electrical contractor who lived alone, claimed $90,000 in medical debts for an unspecified ailment and feared losing his home, another postal inspector testified at his preliminary hearing.

    "He felt that it was better to be in federal prison than out on the street," postal inspector Jessica Wagner said.

    The Postal Inspection Service is the lead investigating agency in the case. Because the victim was a postal carrier, that agency has jurisdiction. Gwinnett County police are referring calls to postal officials.

    At Crutchfield's first court appearance, he asked twice to plead guilty before even being assigned a public defender. "I'd like to get to where I'm going and start doing my time," he told the judge.

    At a second appearance, his lawyer did not request bond, and Crutchfield remains in jail on a complaint of attempting to kill a federal employee. Crutchfield did not respond to an interview request on the advice of his lawyer, Suzanne Hashimi, who said, "He's already talked quite a bit already."

    Lazenby's wife, Colleen Lazenby, said survivalist gear was found in Crutchfield's home and that he apparently admired Rudolph.

    "He saw that Eric Rudolph was being well taken care of after committing a federal crime, so he thought he'd just go ahead and commit one, and he'd be taken care of, with three meals a day and shelter," she said.

    The explanation makes no sense to the Lazenbys.

    "If all he wanted to do was commit a federal crime, all he had to do was walk into a bank with an empty gun and point it at them and say, 'Give me your money.' And that's your federal crime, and no one gets hurt," Lazenby said. "Instead of trying to kill the mailman."

    Lazenby, a 28-year mail carrier, went home from the hospital Wednesday, and he is not sure how long his recovery will take. The thing that attracted him to the postal job was "not being cooped up in the office," but for now doctors say he cannot return to his route.

    "They're not sure if that'll ever happen," he said. "It's still gonna be a long, long road from here."
     
  2. eva01 macrumors 601

    eva01

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    #2
    and people say he death penalty is a bad thing
     
  3. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #3
    There is a thread here on exactly that topic.

    I feel very bad for Earl Lazenby. Having to deal with snarling dogs is one thing, but mail carriers shouldn't have to put their lives on the line for their jobs because of people "going postal" on them.

    Luckily, this is not a trend, but the act of one irrational person. Perhaps we each need bars above our heads, like the signal strength bars in those cell phone commercials, to show our level of rationality, so letter carriers can avoid the lunatics.

    I suppose Crutchfield is going to get his wish and be locked up.
     
  4. eva01 macrumors 601

    eva01

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    #4
    exactly why i posted what i did ;)
     
  5. dubbz macrumors 68020

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    #5
    Ok, that's just sick and twisted.

    Whatever prison he ends up in, I hope it's a PMITAP. He shouldn't be getting an easy time. :mad:
     
  6. iDM macrumors 6502a

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  7. dmw007 macrumors G4

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    #7
    Agreed - sicko.
     
  8. crazytom macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    The guy was pretty twisted to try and kill someone.....BUT:

    He has a point there. All he has to do is commit a federal crime that'll put him away for the next 30 years. He's free of his debt, he has 3 hots and a cot, cable TV, better medical and dental than most American's can afford...for someone his age and in his condition...what's not to like about the situation? To me, it makes perfect sense. I wouldn't be surprised to see more and more elderly working their way into the prison system (at least those who don't have much more to live for).

    What doesn't make sense is why we treat our criminals so well.
     
  9. mad jew Moderator emeritus

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  10. wdlove macrumors P6

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    #10
    A very sad incident. Happy to hear that the mail carrier is alright, my prayers are with him. It is also sad about the $90,000 of debt that William Crutchfield had amassed. Medical care has just become too expensive. :(
     
  11. dmw007 macrumors G4

    dmw007

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    #11
    Kinda scary isn't it. :eek:
    This is why I am all for gun control.
     
  12. homerjward macrumors 68030

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    #12
    this story reminded me of "the cop and the anthem" sort of. it's sad that he had to resort to going to prison in order to sustain himself when he might have had other options. it might sound kind of weird, but i hope he gets a relatively short sentence since the postal carrier didn't die--it might give him a chance to turn his life around in the time he has left.
     
  13. dmw007 macrumors G4

    dmw007

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    #13
    I dont know...do we really want people like this back out on the streets. I am all for second chances but this guy sounds a bit too scary to let loose.
     
  14. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

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    #14
    Read the story again. The mail carrier is pretty #*$%@ing far from okay. From the sounds of it he lost most of his intestines. He might never be able to eat again. He will be chained to a needle for the rest of his life.
     
  15. eva01 macrumors 601

    eva01

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    #15
    there is a point where you wish you were dead, and for me, that is probably it, wondering why he didn't aim higher
     
  16. anonymous161 macrumors 6502

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    #16
    He didn't kill the postal carrier, so he isn't going to get the death penalty anyway. We also don't have 'eye for eye' punishment, so no one is going to put holes in his intestine. However, some big guy might make a girlfriend out of his colon. Edit: I didn't see dubbz post on PMITAP. Good call.

    This case is more indicative of the need for socialized medicine than the death penalty.
     
  17. pulsewidth947 macrumors 65816

    pulsewidth947

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    #17
    Couldnt he declare bankruptcy? That pretty much clears your debts here - fair enough it would be incredibly difficult getting credit again, but thats better than (nearly) killing someone.

    This story actually makes me feel sick.. I cant believe people would do such a thing.

    BTW I completely disagree with the death penalty, even for mass genocidists, its the easy way out. But thats irrelevant to this topic.
     
  18. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

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    #18
    I was told by friends that my ex using my credit card (fraud) may be a similar issue. An easy way out to get the medical care that he needs.
     
  19. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #19
    Bankruptcy just became a lot harder to declare here.

    To those who want to ban guns because of this: What would have stopped a guy like this from using a knife or a bat instead?

    To those who think this proves our prison system is too easy: I'd like to see you spend some time in jail. I bet prison is nothing like what this guy expects. He's in for a rough ride. He may get medical care, but that won't be the same as walking down the path to get your mail everyday. Not many people take to the strict routine of prison well.

    And to those who think this shows the need for the death penalty as a deterrant: We have a death penalty. It doesn't deter people from committing far worse crimes.

    Now, let's hope this mail carrier can live a semi-normal life after this.
     

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