E-Mails From The Man Who Shot John Melvin Liggett


From: Joseph Crawford

To: Dave Perry

Sent: Wednesday, November 01, 2006 6:31 PM

Subject: John Melvin Liggett

My in laws gave me a copy of your story from Comcast about “The Reinvention of John Liggett.” I don’t have any idea of how they came across it.

My name is Joseph M Crawford Jr. I am the deputy Sheriff (badge # 674) who shot and killed Leggett on Friday Feb 14th 1975 at 2:35pm. It was Valentines Day.

I wanted to correct one piece of information. After shooting Liggett he fell forward to the concrete sidewalk and slid about a foot face down. He had run away from me and was about 20 - 25 feet from me and where I had fired my shot. I had shot him "on the run" so to speak.

As I approached him he did put his hands on the sidewalk as if he wanted to push up and run again. I told him if he moved again I wouldshoot him in the head. I could see the bullet hole in his back.

When I looked back to his face there was blood coming out of his mouth or nose, I don't remember which. There was no pulse from then on. He did not move or speak or breathe, his face was facing to his left looking at where Kennedy's life ended at the triple underpass.

The Texas School Book Depositary was1/2 half block away from where Liggett bolted and ran.

That was the direction he was running when I shot him. There was a new Buick Rivera parked at the north end of the block just past Commerce Street. I remember thinking if I miss the prisoner I will have to pay for that door glass.

He didn't die instantly, but his heart was gone from the shot. He was dead; he just didn't know it yet. He might have been conscience about 15 seconds after the shot. No more than that.

Feel free to contact me if there is any thing I can help you with. I still have a copy of the Dallas Times Herald and the ID card and badge from the Dallas Sheriff’s Department. We had to purchase our own badges back then. After leaving the Sheriffs department I went to work at the Galveston Police Department where I retired May 1996 after just over 20 years of service. I currently reside near Livingston, Texas.

1. I didn’t know Liggett from Adam. My position at that time was to transfer inmates between the two, (old Jail and new jail). I don’t remember having ever seen him prior to that day.

2. He was on a 12 man chain. Six sets of cuffs connected by a chain one half on each prisoner.

3. He offered the hand cuff key to all, and all declined the offer "they" [being] the other 11, all said. They also stated that he had pulled the hand cuff key out of his nose; it had a piece of black thread glued to it. Nasal hair is black. He had been to the dentist office the day before.

Back then we had to take them to their own private dentist. They also had to pay the bill. I was told he sat in a particular chair while waiting his turn. The key was stuck in chewing gum under the chair arm. I don’t remember who told me that. It has been 31 years.

4. The newspaper was article was pretty much correct.

5. My wife and I were watching the TV show that night, just by chance. I was reading a book in the living room with her and about half was watching when I heard his name. I looked up from my book and we saw the rest. I could not believe it. I saw my picture and heard my name on the TV. This doesn’t happen to a man every day.

6. What does now strike me as odd [this] now is, like I said, his head was facing the area where President Kennedy died in 1963. He knew I think.