Who Killed Stephanie Crowe?

Oct. 16, 2004

(CBS)  Michael Crowe, 14, of Escondido, Calif., confessed to the January 1998 murder of his 12-year-old sister, Stephanie.

But was he telling the truth, or was it someone else, a drifter named Richard Tuite, who stabbed Stephanie while she slept?

Investigators initially focused on the Crowe family because there were no signs of forced entry. Soon after the murder, and following two days of police interrogation with no lawyer present, Michael confessed to killing his sister in her bedroom.

Police also said he had help from two of his friends, Josh Treadway and Aaron Houser. However, the boys quickly recanted the confession, saying they made up the story under intense police pressure. Still, authorities charged Crowe and his buddies with murder and they prepared to stand trial.

Meanwhile, the family blamed Tuite, a drifter with a history of schizophrenia who was seen in the neighborhood the night of the murder. However, police were not convinced it was Tuite, citing a lack of physical evidence and saying that he couldn't have acted alone.

But lead defense attorney Mary Ellen Attridge disagreed and had Tuite's clothing reexamined, which led to the discovery of bombshell evidence -- Stephanie's DNA on Tuite's sweatshirt and T-shirt.

Now, six years after the crime, Tuite is standing trial for Stephanie's murder. But, questions remain - will the boys' confessions create enough reasonable doubt to acquit Tuite of murder?

Who Killed Stephanie Crowe? - Twelve-year-old Stephanie Crowe was found stabbed to death on her bedroom floor Jan. 21, 1998.

But the family's nightmare had only just begun. In the weeks to follow her brother, Michael, then 14, and two of his friends, Joshua Treadway and Aaron Houser, were charged with conspiring to kill her.

*Read The Court TV News Story

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CrimeShots © cares about victims. Oftentimes, after a murder is committed, the killer is arrested and all the attention suddenly focuses solely on him/her. The victim is soon forgotten. Most of us know the names of many notorious killers, however, it is quite likely that we could name only a very few of their victims. To forget them is heartbreaking, especially for their families.

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--May They All Rest In Peace, FOREVER-

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