Son’s con­vic­tion, par­ents’ death

Avery Lit­tle is sen­tenced for mur­der, but his par­ents’ killing re­mains un­solved

Baltimore Sun - - NEWS - By Justin Fen­ton jfen­ton@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/justin_fen­ton

In Jan­uary 2014, Loressa Lit­tle watched in hor­ror as her 20-year-old son, Avery, stabbed and fa­tally shot a man on her North­west Bal­ti­more porch.

The next day in an in­ter­view room in Bal­ti­more po­lice head­quar­ters, she begged de­tec­tives not to in­volve her in the case.

“I don’t want to be a wit­ness,” the 43-year-old told de­tec­tives.

“I un­der­stand you don’t want to be in­volved,” said De­tec­tive San­dra Forsythe, “but your son has put you in a bad po­si­tion.”

Loressa Lit­tle never took the stand at her son’s mur­der trial. The morn­ing of his sec­ond trial date, she and her hus­band were killed ex­e­cu­tion-style in their home.

On Thurs­day, Bal­ti­more Cir­cuit Judge Julie Ru­bin sen­tenced Avery Lit­tle, now 23, to the max­i­mum penalty of 50 years in prison fol­low­ing his con­vic­tion on counts of sec­ond-de­gree mur­der and a hand­gun charge in the killing of Der­rill Craw­ley, 25.

Pros­e­cu­tors played a record­ing of Loressa Lit­tle’s in­ter­view for the first time at the sen­tenc­ing hear­ing. It was barred from trial by rules pro­hibit­ing tes­ti­mony from wit­nesses who can’t be cross-ex­am­ined.

No one has been charged in the killings of Loressa Lit­tle and Leroy Agnew, 60. Avery Lit­tle’s at­tor­ney, An­gela Oet­ting, noted that pros­e­cu­tors had not ac­cused Lit­tle of be­ing in­volved in their killings.

“He had ab­so­lutely no knowl­edge that was go­ing to hap­pen,” Oet­ting said. He learned of their deaths in jail, from other in­mates from Park Heights, she said.

The string of events be­gan Jan. 28, 2014, when po­lice saw two groups of peo­ple in a con­fronta­tion.

The groups dis­persed, but 15 min­utes later po­lice re­ceived a call for shots fired, said As­sis­tant State’s At­tor­ney Traci Robin­son. As of­fi­cers headed to the call, they saw Avery Lit­tle flee­ing. Af­ter a chase, he was ap­pre­hended. They traced his steps in the snow and found a .38-cal­iber hand­gun, Robin­son said.

A glass ta­ble had been smashed over Craw­ley’s head, and he was found with a stab wound and two gun­shot wounds.

Loressa Lit­tle had been home at the time but didn’t ini­tially tell po­lice the full scope of what she saw. In the homi­cide in­ter­view room, De­tec­tives Thomas Jack­son and Forsythe im­plored her to “do the right thing.”

“I’m not say­ing you mis-raised your son. But you have to do the right thing by your younger son,” Forsythe said, re­fer­ring to her then-6-year-old son. Lit­tle broke down cry­ing.

In Ru­bin’s mostly empty court­room Thurs­day, her wails from the record­ing hung in the room.

Avery Lit­tle, turn­ing his neck to watch the tele­vi­sion be­hind him, looked for­ward and dropped his head.

Loressa Lit­tle told de­tec­tives she had watched her son come into the house and re­trieve a large butcher knife from a block above the kitchen sink. She tried to stop him from go­ing back out­side, and saw him plunge the knife into Craw­ley’s neck. Craw­ley begged for help, and Loressa Lit­tle said she heard a click­ing sound. Avery was load­ing the gun, and shot Craw­ley twice.

“Once he shoots him, what does this guy do?” Jack­son asked. “He’s dead,” Loressa Lit­tle said. Robin­son said as the case pro­gressed, Loressa Lit­tle made it clear she did not want to par­tic­i­pate.

On Oct. 7, 2014, po­lice be­lieve Lit­tle was taken to a rear room of her home, or­dered to her knees, and shot in the back of the head. Adams was shot mul­ti­ple times in his bed. Their 6-year-old son was in the home at the time.

Avery Lit­tle was ac­quit­ted of first-de­gree mur­der in Craw­ley’s death and con­victed on the other counts at a trial in June.

Craw­ley’s mother told the court in a let­ter that her son was a “mama’s boy,” and re­called pass­ing out af­ter re­ceiv­ing word of his death. “I also died that day,” she said. She has since moved out of state, and said she is un­der­go­ing coun­sel­ing and can’t hold down a job. She said Craw­ley’s son told her at a re­cent soc­cer game, “I wish my fa­ther was here.”

Avery Lit­tle’s at­tor­ney said Craw­ley had been the ag­gres­sor and that Lit­tle went too far in de­fend­ing him­self.

A sec­ond shoot­ing vic­tim, a friend of Lit­tle’s, was found at the scene, and Oet­ting ac­cused Craw­ley of com­mit­ting the shoot­ing

Ru­bin called the killing a “stun­ning dis­play of re­lent­less bru­tal­ity” and said Lit­tle showed an “ut­ter dis­re­gard for hu­man life on that day.”

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