Crawford off of death row, back in Caddo Parish

CADDO PARISH, LA (KSLA) - After spending three years on death row at Angola, Rodricus Crawford is back in Caddo Parish to await a new trial.

Crawford was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death in February 2012 for the killing of his 1-year-old son, Roderius Lott On Wednesday, the Louisiana Supreme Court vacated his sentence and ordered a new trial.

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.

In the appeal to the Louisiana Supreme Court, defense attorneys argued that prosecutors excused potential jurors on the case based on race.

"He is given a presumption that he is a criminal element based on his race and socioeconomic status," explained Crawford's attorney, Cecelia Kappel. "I think the result would have been very different if he were white. I think the result would have been very different if he was middle-class African American. In this case, he was presumed to be a criminal."

Kappel adds that the prosecuting attorney used stereotypes as a reason for imposing the death penalty. Crawford admitted he smoked marijuana frequently, was unemployed, and lived with his mother.

The court was unanimous in coming to the conclusion that there was an error in the case. However, the justices have varying opinions on what the error was and how to correct it.

Crawford was returned to Caddo Parish on Friday and was booked into the Caddo Parish Correctional Center ahead of his next court appearance, which is set for Tuesday, Nov. 22.

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