Insanity defense mulled in fatal stabbing of runner Wendy Martinez

The 23-year-old D.C. man indicted in the fatal stabbing of Wendy Martinez last September as she was running in the Logan Circle neighborhood is considering an insanity defense.

As WTOP first reported, the lawyer for Anthony Crawford has requested documents from prosecutors “that would allow us to develop a defense of Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity.”

Public defender Eugene Ohm asked prosecutors for contact information of witnesses “that saw Mr. Crawford’s erratic behavior both before and during the incident,” as well as “any other witnesses that have information relevant to an insanity defense.”

During a Friday arraignment, after his client entered a not guilty plea, Ohm told D.C. Superior Court Judge Craig Iscoe he needed extra time to review evidence and interview witnesses.

With no objection from prosecutors, Iscoe granted 15 extra days to Crawford’s attorney, who will announce whether he will pursue an insanity defense by June 21.

Assistant U.S. attorney Katie Earnest said she would be turning over surveillance video from the night of the stabbing. Witnesses have described seeing Crawford talking to himself before Martinez was killed.

Police said Crawford attacked 35-year-old Martinez as she was running in her neighborhood Sept. 18, 2018, and stabbed her seven times, including in the neck and head. Martinez stumbled into a nearby carryout restaurant and collapsed before she died.

Crawford was found not competent to stand trial in February, but after starting medication, a judge ruled in March that Crawford is now able to assist in his own defense.

The ruling followed a report to the judge from psychologist Teresa Grant, who evaluated Crawford. Grant’s report said Crawford is psychotic but has fully benefited from two medications prescribed to him.

The report found there’s no evidence of hallucinations and that Crawford understands what he’s charged with and wants to talk with his lawyer about entering a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Crawford remains in custody until trial.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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