SAN DIEGO – The mother of Escondido murder victim Stephanie Crowe was urging voters Friday not to vote for Summer Stephan.
Cheryl Crowe explained why she thinks San Diegans should not vote for Interim District Attorney Summer Stephan in Tuesday’s election. Crowe blames Stephan for botching the prosecution of her 12-year-old daughter’s killer.
"If I could save one family from injuries from [Stephan's] lies I would," Crowe said. "[San Diegans] need someone who helps families, not hurt them."
Crowe's daughter was found stabbed to death in her bedroom in Escondido on January 21, 1998. Her older brother Michael Crowe and two friends were initially charged with her murder. A judge later declared them innocent based on their confessions under police interrogation.
Then-Deputy District Attorney Stephan was assigned to the case several months after charges were filed against the three boys.
"When Summer received the case, she reviewed the evidence carefully and joined the defense in asking the court to have a blood stain on a t-shirt worn by a local transient tested. Surprisingly, the test results showed DNA from Stephanie Crowe on the shirt. As a result, Deputy DA Stephan determined there was reasonable doubt, brought the new evidence to her supervisors and asked the court to dismiss the charges against the boys," according to Jason Cabel Roe, who represents Stephan's campaign.
Richard Tuite, a transient who was seen in the neighborhood on the night of her murder, was later convicted of manslaughter, only for the ruling to be overturned. He was acquitted of all charges in 2013.
Stephan was not involved in Tuite's trial.
Stephan released the following statement about her involvement in the Crowe case:
"My heart goes out to the Crowe family for the loss of their daughter. I can’t imagine the depth of their grief that understandably endures 20 years after this terrible crime, and the additional pain of not having closure through the justice system. I’ve been able to help hundreds of families get justice over the last 28 years and I wish I could have done that for this family."