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Lawyers want bail hearing for man accused in husband's death

Lawyers want bail hearing for man accused in husband's death

(Salt Lake County Jail)



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Lawyers for a Utah man who could face the death penalty in the house-fire death of his restaurateur husband made a push for a judge to set bail on Monday.

Craig Crawford's defense attorneys also asked for an order requiring authorities to hand over key evidence in the case, including reports from the state medical examiner and arson investigators.

"We need those," said lawyer Jim Bradshaw, who wants a two-day bail hearing be set as soon as possible. Crawford, 47, appeared in a tan jail jumpsuit and glasses and spoke little except to say he agreed with his lawyer's requests.

The bond hearing will be scheduled during a telephone conference on Wednesday, Judge Vernice Trease said.

Crawford is accused of setting the couple's house on fire in May, shortly after his husband John Williams, 72, filed for divorce and unsuccessfully sought a restraining order.

Williams was trapped on the fourth floor after the stairs caught fire. Authorities say Crawford went outside and watered the plants while his husband screamed for help. Williams died of smoke inhalation.

Williams was a well-known LGBT pioneer in Utah who owned the popular Market Street Grill and other restaurants.

His niece Laura Forsgren said the family hopes Crawford doesn't get a chance to be released.

"We think he's a very dangerous person," she said. "It's been horrific and a nightmare for our whole family."

Prosecutors haven't decided whether to seek the death penalty if Crawford is convicted. He is facing aggravated murder and arson charges.

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Lindsay Whitehurst

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