Inmate freed early due to COVID murders teenager two days later

An inmate released early from South Woods State Prison in New Jersey because of COVID-19 has been charged with murdering a teenager only two days later.

Jerry Crawford, 25, who was serving time on burglary charges, was let out early on “public health emergency credits” to mandatory parole supervision on Nov. 4, according to the state Department of Corrections.

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Prisoners considered for early release due to COVID were all within months of their official release dates. Inmates convicted of murder, aggravated sexual assault, and “repetitive, compulsive” sex crimes were excluded from consideration for early release, according to officials.

Since his release, Crawford has been charged with the murder of Davion Scarbrough, 18, who was shot and killed on Nov. 6, only two days after Crawford was released from prison. He’s charged along with Yusuf Waites, another inmate released only a month before the murder. Waites completed his sentence on a gun charge and was released on Oct. 10.

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The two were allegedly seen on surveillance video with Scarbrough shortly before his body was found with multiple gunshot wounds. The murder took place only half a mile away from the prison where the two were released.

When Crawford was charged with the murder of Scarbrough, he was already in custody on separate gun and theft-related charges. Both men were indicted on first-degree murder and first-degree conspiracy to commit murder.

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Waites was also indicted for attempting to kill two other men. He’s also been charged in a separate killing, a drive-by shooting, and a separate shooting incident.

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