On an early Saturday morning, January 23, 1988, the body of Stella McCrary, 69, was discovered in her home on Burton Avenue in Mobile by her son, Tommy McCrary, per a 2007 al.com report. She had been stabbed to death, in what investigators at the time believed was an attempted robbery.
In the years and decades that followed, no one was charged in her death.That changed last week.
On May 4, Anthony Hayes, 65, was arrested in his home in Maricopa, Arizona, for the murder of McCrary. He currently awaits extradition back to Mobile.
“She and her husband had owned a couple of houses right there near where she lived,” said Sgt. Nick Crepeau of the Mobile Police Department. “And so they rented these houses out to people, and so one of the boyfriends of one of the renters became a suspect early on in the case.”
That early suspect was Hayes. He was interviewed that year, but no arrest was able to be made.
Then, in the early 2000s, a DNA match was made between Hayes and evidence from the crime scene. At this point, Hayes was no longer living in the state of Alabama, and no arrest was made.
“From that point, basically, the case just sat cold,” Crepeau said.
For almost nine years, Crepeau worked in the homicide unit. In September, when he was promoted to sergeant, he moved units to begin working on cold cases.
McCrary’s case had been on his radar, he said, since it was a “brutal” murder that had not been solved. When he began looking into it, he discovered the connection between the case and Hayes.
He found out Hayes was now living in Arizona, so in March he travelled there and interviewed him.
“We ended up presenting the case to a grand jury, which I feel, honestly, probably should have been done years ago,” Crepeau said. “But [we] presented the facts to a grand jury and the grand jury indicted.”
Not long after Hayes is brought back to Mobile, a trial date will be set. Crepeau said it is hard to know now when the trial could be, but a date for it, or at least a few initial hearings, should be known soon.
On the night that he was arrested, Crepeau reached out to the family of the late McCrary.
“They were real thankful,” he said. “They were glad to see that, you know, finally some justice was going to be had for them.”
He had interviewed some of the family members while reviewing the case, though he was never able to get in contact with McCrary’s sister. Late last week, she called him after hearing about the case on the news.
“She was real faithful as well,” Crepeau said. “She said her brother had checked on the case throughout the years, and would call and ask about the case. So yeah, they’re real thankful, they’re really glad to see that something’s gonna be done with the case.”
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