Video: Suspect in shooting changed story

Friday, November 5, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 7:20 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 5, 2008

A video interrogation of Taron Crawford aired in court Thursday shows Crawford changed his story about the shooting death of Charles Blondis when talking to police.

Crawford, charged with second-degree murder and first-degree armed criminal action, took the stand Thursday afternoon and said he did not kill Blondis. He said others, including Sam Hileman, testified untruthfully.

The video from Nov. 16, 2003, the day of the shooting, shows Columbia Police Detective Bryan Liebhart interrogating Crawford of Kansas City, Kan.

Liebhart testified that Crawford initially said the gun that killed Blondis had been dropped by an unidentified male and Crawford picked it up.

Later in the video, Crawford said he brought the gun to the party on Riva Ridge Court where the shooting occurred.

In Thursday’s testimony, Crawford said he lied about where he got the gun. At first, he said he got it from his uncle. He said later it was given to him fully loaded by a friend named Mac.

Crawford said he carried the gun for fear of an attack from someone in Kansas City. “I lied about a few things because I was scared,” Crawford said.

After the video testimony, Terrance Ruff, a longtime friend of Crawford’s, took the stand.

Ruff said he had also lied to the police, in this case about his relationship with Crawford, saying that they barely knew each other. Ruff said he thought the police were trying to pin the murder on him.

“I told them anything to get them off my back,” Ruff said.

He testified that Crawford was unaware that he shot Blondis.

“Why’d you shoot him?” he said he asked Crawford.

Upon hearing the news that he’d shot someone, Crawford started crying and praying, saying that he was going to hell for what he did, Ruff said.

Prosecutor Dan Knight questioned why, if Crawford was innocent that Crawford and Ruff ran after the shots were fired.

Crawford said he was scared and that everyone was running.

“If you fired the gun twice in the air, how is it that Charley had a bullet straight through his chest?” Knight said.

Crawford said he didn’t know.

Liebhart said Crawford knew where he was aiming the gun because Crawford told him he was looking at Blondis’ face before firing the gun.

In the video, Crawford also changed his story regarding the weapon’s disposal.

In Crawford’s video testimony, he initially said he dropped the gun in a drainage ditch after he fired shots.

However, he later said he threw the gun over a fence at the apartment where he was staying, where police discovered it.

The jury is expected to start deliberating at 8:30 a.m. today.

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