Man pleads guilty to fatal stabbing of maintenance man at Kansas City apartment complex

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A 41-year-old man has pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and armed criminal action in the fatal stabbing of a maintenance worker at an apartment complex in Kansas City’s Santa Fe neighborhood.

Syan R. Crawford entered the plea on Tuesday during a hearing in Jackson County Circuit Court, records show. He was initially charged with second-degree murder in the killing of 63-year-old Larry Dickerson.

According to charging documents, Kansas City police were called to the scene of the stabbing in the 3200 block of Linwood Boulevard on the morning of July 31, 2020. Police arrived at an apartment building to find Dickerson covered in blood with a stab wound to the center of his chest.

Dickerson was taken by ambulance to a hospital and died three days later.

Witnesses identified the suspect as Crawford in statements to police. One eyewitness reported seeing Crawford take out a knife and lunge toward Dickerson, whose fists were up in a boxing stance.

Hours before the stabbing Dickerson called the police to report that Crawford, who authorities say was homeless, had been sleeping in the apartment complex’s laundry room.

Witnesses said Crawford had talked about retaliating against Dickerson for calling the police. One said Crawford admitted to the crime during a phone call, according to court documents.

Investigators also gathered as evidence phone records that allegedly placed Crawford near the crime scene and DNA from a blue bicycle that allegedly belonged to him, according to court papers.

Crawford was arrested and charged roughly two weeks after the killing.

Under Missouri law, Crawford faces a maximum prison sentence of 15 years for voluntary manslaughter and 15 years for armed criminal action. He is scheduled to be sentenced May 31.

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