Archive for Thursday, December 20, 2001

Crutchfield’s kidnapping trial postponed until January

December 20, 2001

A man charged with kidnapping a De Soto woman two weeks prior to her fatal shooting will have to wait until after the holidays to have his day in court.

Juan Crutchfield, 20, was supposed to have a jury trial Monday, Dec. 17, in Johnson County District Court for the kidnapping and assault of Melanie S. Oliver.

Crutchfield's jury trial was short lived because it was scheduled at the same time as another jury trial in Judge Steven Tatum's court. The scheduling conflict caused Tatum to postpone the trial until Jan. 7.

However, the trial may not occur then because the new trial date is on the same day that Alfredo Arambula, 19, Kansas City, Kan., is scheduled to stand trail in the slaying of Oliver.

Assistant District Attorney Jacqie Spradling is the prosecutor in both cases, which have some of the same witnesses, and the trials are in two different courtrooms.

The conflict will most likely postpone one of the trials, prosecutors said.

On Aug. 18, Crutchfield struck Oliver unconscious and then took her out of the Lakeview Heights duplex where he, his wife and children were living. He took Oliver to Kansas City, Mo. and dropped her off in the Independence Avenue area, witnesses testified at November preliminary hearing.

Oliver returned to the home and continued staying with Crutchfield's wife and children. On Sept. 4, a masked gunman entered the duplex and shot Oliver while she slept.

Arambula is charged with first-degree murder in what witnesses described a contract-type slaying. Arambula reportedly shot Oliver at the behest of Crutchfield.

Witnesses testified at Arambula's preliminary hearing Nov. 5, that Crutchfield wanted Oliver killed to keep her from testifying about the kidnapping and assault.

Jesse Guardado, 19, Edwardsville, who is Juan's brother, is also charged with first-degree murder in Oliver's death. He will stand trial Jan. 14.

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