'Killing Machine' Sentenced To Death
Saturday, August 4, 2007
Joshua W. Andrews, following in his father's footsteps, was sentenced to death yesterday.
The 25-year-old Woodbridge man stood quietly and bowed his head as a Prince William County jury said he should be executed for killing two men during a 2002 shooting rampage that stretched from Northern Virginia to New York City.
Prosecutors said Andrews went with a friend to a Dumfries area apartment Jan. 2, 2002, to rob it. He forced three men at the apartment to strip and climb naked into a bathtub. Then he shot them.
Romanno A. Head and Robert I. Morrison, both 22 and roommates, were killed. Their friend Rutherford Berry was shot in the head but survived.
The verdict, which came after jurors deliberated six hours over two days, brought some comfort to the victims' relatives, who have waited years for the case to go to trial.
"He's an animal," said Wilbur Henry Morrison Jr., Robert's father. "This was vicious and senseless and humiliating. There was no reason for this to happen."
During the three-week trial in Prince William Circuit Court, prosecutors portrayed Andrews as a "killing machine," a man so violent and volatile that he remains a constant threat. Even in prison, they said, he is a danger to staff and other inmates. Defense attorneys said their client's actions stemmed from a deeply troubled childhood.
When Andrews was a baby, his father was sentenced to death for his part in killing two people during a jewelry store robbery in Texas. Andrews grew up with a drug-addicted mother, who often left her three sons to fend for themselves, and an abusive stepfather. Andrews spent time in psychiatric facilities.
When he was 8, a neighborhood boy pushed him into a shed and set it on fire. Andrews was burned on his face and hands. Children teased him, calling him "crispy critter." Later, he was called "scarface."
When Andrews was 13, his father was stabbed to death by a fellow inmate in a Texas prison. The teenager ignored the urgings of his mother and brother to scatter his father's ashes, according to testimony. Instead, Andrews kept the box of ashes in his bedroom or carried them around in his black-and-maroon backpack, which was shown to the jury.
Andrews moved to Virginia, where he met Jamel S. Crawford, 28, of Woodbridge, about six months before the shootings, according to testimony. Crawford, a key prosecution witness who knew Head, testified that he helped plan the robbery and went to the apartment but that he never intended for anyone to get hurt. He is also charged in the shootings and is awaiting trial.
Afterward, Andrews and Crawford went to Stafford County, where they were accused of shooting and wounding a store clerk, authorities said. Then they headed to New York City, where they shot and wounded two other men. Both were convicted of two counts of attempted murder in New York.