Fire survivor recalls night family killed 10 years ago

YOUNGSTOWN — For Retia Crawford, Carol Crawford never stopped being “mommy.”

Speaking recently of her mother, who died with Retia’s sister Jennifer and Jennifer’s four children in Youngstown’s worst mass murder, every reference to Carol begins with “mommy.”

Retia said she will never forget the Jan. 23, 2008, arson at her Stewart Avenue home on the East Side that killed all six, and she wants to have a public remembrance of her mother, sister and nieces and a nephew.

But Retia also said she wants to meet the man sentenced to 180 years in prison for setting the fire, Michael Davis, now 28, who was a neighbor and by some accounts friends with Retia’s brothers, Julius and Conovis Crawford.

“I want to ask him, ‘Why?’ that’s all,” Retia said as her own children played in the apartment. “I want to know. I ain’t got the strength yet. But eventually, I’m going.”

For the complete story, read Sunday's Vindicator and

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