Troubled Loner Faces 3 Charges of Murder : Violence: The arrest of Paul David Crews in a double slaying on the Appalachian Trail followed a life of bitterness, depression, drug abuse.
On Sept. 13, authorities say, Paul David Crews spilled blood on the Appalachian Trail.
In the darkness of the wilderness, they say, Crews entered a wooden shelter and shot Geoffrey Logan Hood, 26, of Signal Mountain, Tenn., three times with a .22-caliber pistol, and then raped Molly LaRue, 26, of Shaker Heights, Ohio, and stabbed her several times in the back and throat.
Then, they say, he left the two lovers dead in their sleeping bags near Duncannon, Pa., about 15 miles north of Harrisburg, Pa.
The murders sent paroxysms of terror up and down the 2,144-mile trail. Camaraderie governs life along America’s most famous path; as many as 4 million people hike some portion of it in any year, and as many as 200 walk its length, helping each other, urging each other along, trusting each other.
That intimacy was Paul David Crews’ downfall. He was arrested Sept. 21 in Harper’s Ferry, W. Va., after other hikers informed police that they had seen a man carrying an overstuffed backpack--Hood’s, as it turned out. He wasn’t carrying it as an experienced hiker would. Something was wrong.
In the intervening months, as Crews awaits trial at the Perry County Prison in New Bloomfield, it has become clear that very much was wrong.
It was revealed that Crews also is accused of the 1986 slaying of Clemmie Jewel Arnold, 56, of Bartow, Fla. FBI records state that she was found naked near Crews’ makeshift home next to an alligator-infested swamp.
Her throat was slashed six times, and she was nearly decapitated. Crews’ bloody clothes and knife were found in the trunk of Arnold’s car.
The man who stands accused of these three murders is deeply troubled--severely depressed, a drug user, prone to threatening behavior, according to federal officials, relatives, teachers, classmates and coaches.
“He had mental problems. He had signs of being manic-depressive,” said Susan Crews, a registered nurse who adopted Crews on April 6, 1961.
She said her son was bitter about being forced to leave his natural family. He was angry at his natural father, Edward Horne, who had abandoned him and his seven brothers and sisters when Crews was 9.
A poor student, he ran away from his adoptive parents several times and found himself in trouble with the law when he was 12 for carrying a knife on his belt, she said.
“He was a little ornery young’un,” said his high school football coach, Frank Mensch. “He was a little on the tough side. He was a kid that wanted to do what he wanted to.”
In 1972, Crews quit school after his senior-year football and wrestling seasons, his mother said. She said Crews disappeared but returned to finish school during summer session. That same year, he joined the Marines.
But neither the service nor marriage to his high school sweetheart, Teresa Ann Dunman, could right Crews’ life.
Severely depressed, “he would sleep for days and not say anything,” Dunman said. “They (doctors) basically had him on antidepressants.”
In 1973, two weeks after their marriage in Pensacola, Fla., Crews slashed his wrists and was committed to a military hospital, she said.
Dunman said her husband would not discuss his depression with her. “He was very secretive, very quiet,” she said. “I don’t think he cared for commitment or responsibility. It was too much for him.”
Five months after the suicide attempt, Crews went AWOL. Two months later, in August, Crews was discharged from the military because of “severe mental depression,” said Larry Curtin, an FBI agent in Tampa, Fla.
Dunman said she divorced Crews in 1974. She never saw him again.
In subsequent years, Crews never had steady work but dabbled in jobs as a painter, gravedigger, fruit picker and construction worker, according to federal officials and his family.
They described him as a quiet loner, an avid reader of Louis L’Amour Western novels and other fiction who loved to go fishing and drink beer.
In the early ‘80s, Crews moved to North Carolina and lived with his natural brother, Donald Ray Horne, according to Horne’s girlfriend, Vanessa Simmons of Lawndale, N. C. Simmons said the kind, passive Crews disappeared when he drank whiskey or dipped into the dope bag.
“They had high tempers because of cocaine and marijuana. They would mix it with beer and whiskey liquor,” said Simmons, who is partially paralyzed because Horne shot her in the head with a sawed-off shotgun during an argument.
After a 1984 family reunion of the Horne children and their natural mother in North Carolina, Crews returned to Florida, relatives and friends said. It was during this time that Arnold was killed.
He remarried, and then menaced his second wife, Casey, according to Detective Sgt. Robert Schott of the Bartow, Fla., Police Department.
“She was absolutely terrified of him. He put a knife to her throat and threatened to kill her,” said Schott, who investigated Arnold’s murder.
Allegations like these have bewildered Crews’ family. Two of his sisters are convinced of his guilt and will have nothing to do with him.
“How can you be fair to anyone who has killed people?” asked Suzanne McNeely. “There’s nothing balanced about him.”
Another sister, who asked not to be identified, said she doesn’t understand where her brother went wrong: “He came from a fine Christian home. It was a good, loving home.”