Following an extensive review and new evidence, the Caddo Parish District Attorney's Office will not retry a Caddo Parish Man in the death of his son, according to a news release.
Rodricus Crawford was convicted and sentenced to death in 2012 in the death of his one-year-old son, Roderius Lott. In his original trial, his defense attorneys said that the child was very sick with pneumonia and died from sepsis.
Prosecutors convinced the jury that Crawford smothered his son.
Crawford was a chronic and heavy user of marijuana, according to a news release from the Caddo Parish District Attorney. As a result, Roderius experienced multiple respiratory infections in his life.
Crawford spent three years at the Louisiana State Penitentiary.
The Louisiana Supreme Court in November of 2016 reserved his conviction and ordered a new trial. The Supreme Court noted the time frame it would take for bruises to form on the lips of a child in contrast to the time it would take to result in the child's suffocation. Bruises on the child's face could have been made possibly from a suction device used to clear his sinuses/nasal passages.
The Caddo Parish District Attorney's Office stated in a news release:
New evidence presented after the trial raised questions about the degree of pneumonia together with bacteria in the child's blood indicative of sepsis are possibilities that require consideration. While the coroner and this office stand by the determination that a homicide occurred the State has the burden of proving all elements of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. In this circumstantial evidence case, the State must also exclude every reasonable hypothesis of any other crime or innocence factors. Therein lies the problem.
While the State feels a reasonable prosecution could be pursued on a charge of criminal negligent homicide, that negligence could extend to other members of the family, Even if successful on that charge against Crawford, the amount of time he has spent in jail is close to the maximum sentence available if he was convicted.
The death of a child is a tragedy under any circumstance for the victim, the family and the community as a whole, but this office is charged with the task to consider all of the evidence in a case and to bring a charge when the evidence can support it.
For these reasons, the State has elected not to retry Rodricus Crawford.
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