NCCU student murder trial postponed

DURHAM The attorney representing Shannon Crawley, 29, asked to be removed from his client's case, if certain conditions weren't met related to an undisclosed ethical dilemma, according to a court motion filed in December.

This week a judge ordered Crawley be assigned a public defender.

This latest development will once again delay the pending murder trial that was originally scheduled for December. A ballistic lab test report that was returned late in November caused the trial to be delayed until January 26.

A new trial date has not been set.

Crawley is facing first-degree murder charges in the shooting death of Denita Smith, 25, a beloved NCCU graduate student.

According to an autopsy report, Smith was shot once in the head from a distance in January 2007. A maintenance worker discovered her body at the bottom of a stairwell at her apartment complex. He reported seeing a woman leaving the scene of the crime. Several days later, Crawley was arrested in connection with the shooting. Her home and SUV were searched for evidence. Court documents indicate Smith's fiance believed Crawley had been stalking the couple.

Crawley is out on a $175,000 bond. She was a dispatcher for the Greensboro 911 Emergency Center before her arrest. Court records suggest she is now unemployed and unable to afford a new attorney for her upcoming murder trial.

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