Murderer gets 22 years
Friend left to die on lonely country road
A TAROONA man who kicked and bashed his friend, Donald William Crow, to death on a lonely country road has been sentenced to 22 years’ jail, with a non-parole period of 13½ years.
In February, a jury found Russell John Nowoczynski, 49, guilty of murdering Mr Crow, 39, on the night of June 11, 2016, near Interlaken in the Central Highlands.
Chief Justice Alan Blow sentenced Nowoczynski in the Supreme Court in Hobart last week.
Chief Justice Blow said Nowoczynski murdered Mr Crow, a friend and work colleague, “by beating and kicking him to death on a lonely country road” during a night away at Mr Crow’s family shack.
After spending most of the day and evening together, Chief Justice Blow said, the two men went to Oatlands to buy alcohol and a violent fight occurred on the way back to the shack. He said Mr Crow was intoxicated at the time.
“I do not understand why Mr Nowoczynski and Mr Crow started to fight, and I do not understand why Mr Nowoczynski, having overpowered Mr Crow, continued to assault him so viciously that, in the end, he murdered a defenceless man,” he said.
“While Mr Crow was lying on the road and dying, Mr Nowoczynski took some ‘selfie’ photographs of himself with his mobile phone, recorded a short video of himself which he later deleted, removed Mr Crow’s jacket, and put it in the vehicle. It was snowing. Mr Nowoczynski found Mr Crow’s keys and drove off, leaving him there dying.”
Chief Justice Blow said Nowoczynski’s comments to police that Mr Crow became aggressive and attacked him, and that he was taken by surprise were not reliable.
“He could well have lied in an attempt to shift as much blame as possible on to Mr Crow,” he said.
During the trial, state forensic pathologist Dr Donald Ritchie said Mr Crow suffered at least 12 blows or kicks to the head, and he found stones in Mr Crow’s oesophagus, just above the stomach, and in his throat and airways leading to the lungs.
Chief Justice Blow said he was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt Nowoczynski intended to kill Mr Crow.
“It is a particularly bad example of an intentional killing because of the ferocity of the force used, the forcing of gravel into the victim’s mouth, and the abandonment of the dying man on the road in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night, in the middle of winter,” he said.
Chief Justice Blow said the murder had had “a terrible impact on all his family”.
“They will miss him greatly for the rest of their lives,” he said.
Outside the court, Mr Crow’s father, Phillip Crow, and stepmother Gail Kenny, said Donald Crow was a compassionate and hardworking man who loved his job as a viticulturist and who was much loved by his fiancee and three young children.
“All of the wonderful happy life that Don and his family had has been ended tragically in such circumstances that will have devastating effects forever on his family, especially his children who were so very noticeably close to Don,” Phillip Crow said.