A man accused in the fatal stabbing of his girlfriend more than two and a half years ago may stand trial in February.
44 year old Anthony (Tony) Tyrone Crews made a brief appearance before Judge Gary McKenzie in DeKalb County Criminal Court today (Friday).
Judge McKenzie set December 13 as the date to hear pre-trial motions in the case including a change of venue request. He has also set the trial date for February 13, 2018.
The District Public Defender, who is representing Crews, is asking the court to have the trial in Putnam County, rather than DeKalb County. Crews is currently being held in the Putnam County Jail. The judge has given the Public Defender's staff until October 23 to file all their pre-trial motions and the District Attorney General's staff has until November 15 to file answers to the motions.
Crews is under indictment for first degree murder in the death of 28 year old Ashley Bain, whose body was found lying on the floor of a bedroom at the home she and Crews shared at 3870 Cookeville Highway, Smithville on Thursday afternoon, February 5, 2015.
Bain was stabbed numerous times about the upper body. It's not known exactly how long she had been dead by the time authorities were notified but she had been seen alive earlier in the day. A knife, believed to have been the murder weapon, was found in the home.
According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, Crews called 911 at 2:33 p.m. on February 5, 2015 to report that he had discovered Bain's body when he entered the residence. Sheriff Ray and members of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department were alerted and quickly arrived on the scene. The TBI and District Attorney General's Office also joined the investigation. Sheriff Ray said authorities determined that Crews had committed the crime and made up the story about finding the body.
One week later, Crews made his first court appearance under tight security at the DeKalb County Courthouse.
During the brief hearing in General Sessions Court, Judge Bratten Cook, II increased Crews' bond from $250,000 to one million dollars. He also appointed the District Public Defender's Office to represent Crews.
Before increasing the bond amount, Judge Cook questioned Crews about his background. Crews said he was from New York and had relocated to McMinnville three years ago (prior to the murder). He is married and had once served in the military. At the time of his arrest, Crews was enrolled as a student at MTSU and had worked at Shiroki in Smithville. He admitted to having a misdemeanor criminal past for simple assault in New York but claimed the charges against him there were dismissed. Crews said he is not currently on parole or probation for any other offense.
After being appointed to represent Crews, Assistant District Public Defender Allison Rasbury West asked that his bond be kept at $250,000 saying that amount was sufficient. However Judge Cook raised it to one million dollars.
Crews' second appearance in General Sessions Court was for a preliminary hearing on March 26, 2015
Following the hearing, Judge Cook ordered the case bound to the grand jury and increased Crews' bond from one million to two million dollars.
Assistant District Attorney General Greg Strong called two persons to testify during the March 26 hearing and they were questioned by both Strong and Assistant Public Defender Allison Rasbury West , who at the time was representing Crews.
Amy Tucker, a clerk at Village Market Marathon on North Congress Boulevard, testified that Crews was a regular customer and bought beer there on the day that Bain was killed. " He was a pretty steady customer. He came in usually two or three times a day every day and bought beer," she said.
During his testimony, TBI Special Agent and Criminal Investigator Lance Walker said surveillance video from Village Market showed Crews making a beer purchase around 1:00 p.m. on the day of the murder and an empty beer bottle and a bloody knife, believed to have been the murder weapon were found later that afternoon inside a Village Market bag at the crime scene. "We had heard that he had gone to Village Market and we retrieved a receipt (from the store) that matched up with beer sales of Mr. Crews purchasing 2-24 ounce Bud Ices and a Steel Reserve with a time stamp on the receipt at 1 p.m. The store video showed him making the purchase. When we got to the scene back in the bedroom where Ms Bain's body was found, there was a plastic bag consistent with the bags that Village Market uses and in the bag was an empty Steel Reserve bottle and next to the bottle in the bag was a knife that had been bent from the force used upon it covered in reddish brown stains. There was also blonde hair appearing to belong to the victim on that knife. The knife was recovered and sent for testing," Walker testified.
Agent Walker said that he was notified of the stabbing at around 2:00 p.m. that day and arrived on the scene at around 3:30 p.m. He described what he observed . " I arrived on the scene after I received the call. We set up a perimeter for the crime scene. Mr. Crews (who was on the scene) was transported to be interviewed by another agent. I conducted a crime scene investigation. The first thing we noticed was that the front door was ajar. The frame was off the door. We went through the house and saw reddish brown stains which we assumed to be blood throughout the house leading back to the back left bedroom. And then we encountered Ms. Bain's body. She was found on the left side of the bed, near the foot of the bed close to the wall. The manner of death (according to the autopsy) was multiple stab wounds. They could confidently say that there were at least fifteen (stab wounds). They could not establish the estimated time of death," testified Agent Walker.
" Mr. Crews (who was at the scene) was disheveled. He was repeating himself over and over again. He appeared to be incoherent and he had a strong odor of alcohol on him. My understanding was that he and Ms. Bain were in a relationship and he stayed at the house at times throughout the week off and on. His clothing had what appeared to be blood. His long sleeved shirt, pants, and shoes all had reddish brown stains on them. His hands had what appeared to be dried blood. His clothing was sent to the lab for testing," said Walker.
"Samples of blood were taken from designated areas inside the home and sent to the crime lab for analysis including from the floor of the hallway, bedroom, dining/kitchen area, and a number of other items such as the knife and Bain's wallet, which was found between two trash bags filled with trash (one on top of the other) in the kitchen. The wallet had about $1,400 in it. We also found more money (another $1,600 or $1,700) that appeared to come from the same source in the bedroom," Walker testified.
As for the broken front door, Agent Walker said Crews had reported to the Sheriff's Department in January, 2015 that it had been damaged in an attempted break-in. "The Sheriff's Office let me know that a report had been filed on January 26, 2015 for a supposed break-in. I think Crews filed the report that somebody had broke the door. I re-secured it before I left. It seemed secure," Agent Walker testified.