Woman finds death scene after getting a phone call
The mass murder was likely the result of an ongoing feud, a detective said.
By PATRICIA MEADE
VINDICATOR CRIME REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Nykisha Townsend said she cried as she cradled her children's father until police arrived at the scene of a quadruple homicide on West Evergreen Avenue.
"I held him until they made me leave," Townsend, 24, of South Avenue, said as she talked about Anthony M. Crockett. "He was a nice guy, loved his kids, was a great provider."
Townsend said she has five children, three by Crockett, and is pregnant again by him.
She said Crockett had a record company -- Doe Boyz Entertainment. The young mother said she doesn't know how to explain the killings to her children -- a boy, 6; two girls, 5 and 4; and twin boys, 3.
Townsend said she got a call on her cell phone telling her that Crockett was dead and went to the house at 548 W. Evergreen Ave. on the South Side on Monday night, to see for herself. She saw the other two dead men in the upstairs bedroom but not the body of the woman in the corner.
"He had just moved in there. He had just put his stuff, some furniture in there. He had to get the utilities turned on," Townsend said of the West Evergreen house. "I was trying to get into another neighborhood. With all the shooting going on, I was scared to stay in this neighborhood."
She said Crockett was shot (in the leg) about three weeks ago and wounded two months before that, and she feared he'd be shot again by those involved in a feud. "Oh, God," she said, crying as her children fussed around her.
Those dead at the scene at 10:30 p.m. were:
Christopher D. Howard, 24.
Marvin Boone, 19.
Danielle Parker, 22.
The coroner did not release the addresses of the victims, but all were from Youngstown.
Townsend said Parker had been seeing Crockett for a while. "Why? I don't know."
Townsend said she believes the shootings are connected to what happened to Martwain J. Dill a few months ago. "They were all friends at first, and then it was all 'he said, she said' and everybody just broke up," she said.
Dill, 23, was shot multiple times in a pickup truck in the 2100 block of Glenwood Avenue at about 11 a.m. Nov. 3. Three men are charged in the crime -- Eric Lewis, 18, Gary Crockett, 29, and Bertrum Moore, 18. Police didn't say whether Gary Crockett and Anthony Crockett were related.
An ongoing feud may be the motive in the quadruple homicide, said Detective Sgt. Daryl Martin. He said there are "a ton of suspects" who had been feuding with the three male victims.
Martin is asking anyone with information about the killings to call him at (330) 742-8250. Tipsters can also call 911.
Police said the mass shooting was reported at 10:24 p.m. Monday via several 911 calls, none apparently from the neighborhood, but they didn't say where they were from. However, police said they apparently came from someone who had been to the crime scene.
The victims were found in a second-floor bedroom, all apparently shot in the head and body, police said.
Capt. Kenneth Centorame, chief of detectives, said the victims were all dressed in winter coats. He said the two-story house apparently had no water or heat. There was no sign of forced entry, and the victims were not bound or gagged.
Centorame said there were no signs of drug activity.
A 1998 Ford Expedition, registered to Parker, was towed from the scene.
Six homicide detectives, two lieutenants and Centorame are working the case. Crime lab officers collected evidence from the scene for processing.
First officers at the house found two of the male victims dead on separate couches in an upstairs bedroom; the third man was on the floor. Parker was curled in a fetal position in a corner of the bedroom. Numerous shell casings were found on the floor.
The crime scene was overrun with men and women in the yard, front porch and coming out of the house. Everyone was told to go stand on the sidewalk. Several bystanders were taken downtown to be questioned by detectives. One of the victim's relatives, emotional and crying, told police outside the house: "He's dead; they're all dead."
A neighbor, Julius Jordan, said he was watching TV at his mom's house on West Evergreen and didn't hear the gunfire. He said he heard the sirens but couldn't get close to the crime scene because police had taped off several houses on each side. Jordan, 19, moved back to town to attend college. He said it's time to move.
Court records show the following activity for Crockett, Howard and Boone:
Crockett: On Jan. 18, a drug possession charge was received at Mahoning County Common Pleas Court for review by a grand jury. The charge originated in Youngstown. His bond was posted by Parker. On Dec. 29, 2006, Crockett was sentenced to two years' community control for drug trafficking and improper handling of a firearm. The charges originated in Boardman. On Oct. 26, 2006, Crockett was sentenced to 180 days in jail on a driving under suspension charge but, because of overcrowding, was furloughed the next day.
Howard: In May 2005, Howard received two years' community control for a possession of cocaine conviction. The charge originated in Youngstown. He violated terms of his probation and was ordered to complete a substance abuse program.
Boone: He pleaded guilty Nov. 16, 2006, in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court to receiving stolen property. The charge originated in Youngstown. His sentencing was set for Thursday. Boone was also among the 18 juveniles and 11 adults indicted in May 2006 and charged with criminal gang activity. The case is pending in juvenile court. The adults charged were juveniles when the alleged crimes were committed.
In the past 16 years there have been a number of multiple homicides in Youngstown.
Vindicator files show that a quintuple homicide was recorded Oct. 3, 1993. A woman, three of her children and her boyfriend were all shot to death on the North Side. The shooter, father of the children, then killed himself.
In 1991, Willie "Flip" Williams killed four people on the East Side.
In 1996, three men were killed during a robbery at the Newport Inn on Indianola Avenue.
In 2004, two women and a man were found shot to death inside a New York Avenue house.