"I am really not a bad person," Roscoe Temple Crawley 56, wrote to the district attorney about passing a forged $1,200 check at the First National Bank in the Belfast Community on Oct. 5, 2005, according to Crawley's Jan. 19 letter.
Crawley was "recovering from a grave, emotional disorder from … abusing herion (sic)," the defendant wrote, turning to the effects that at least one court officer interpreted as damaged brain waves. "I have depleted most of my nuriutransmitters (sic) in my brain… Hopefully, I can recover."
Recovery may be in a state penitentiary, because Crawley faces a term of at least six years on the charges stemming from his case here, according to defense attorney Robert Greene's interpretation of state sentencing guidelines.
However, Assistant District Attorney Eddie Barnard says Crawley should be sentenced for more time because of his previous convictions. Crawley's case file indicates 43 prior convictions.
"It's not like he was convicted 43 time," Greene said. "There may be 5-6 charges per incident. At a minimum, he's a persistent offender."
Persistent enough to prompt the U.S. Secret Service to pay attention.
"I called the Secret Service," former Pulaski Investigator Butch Sutton said after the jury delivered its verdict. "They have a task force working on this case."
On Oct. 5, 2005, Crawley forged Melvin Bernard Rodgers' name on a $1,200 check, when passing a check from West College Auto Sales in Pulaski, where he distracted Gail Henderson while two other men allegedly sneaked into the dealership's office and took blank checks, Henderson and her boss, Lisa Gibson, said.
In his letter to the prosecutor, Crawley offered to identify others who participated in his crimes. The return address for the letter is on East Church Street.
The alleged theft of blank checks from the auto dealership was in the fall of 2005, said Gibson, owner of West College Auto Sales. A bank teller in Belfast cashed the check for Crawley when he posed as Rodgers, she said.
Crawley's lawyer was uncertain about whether there will be an appeal filed in this case, but he offered an opinion that might be used in such an effort.
"I don't think the state met its burden of proof for the identity theft charge," Greene said. "They didn't submit proof of the existence of someone with that name."
Henderson and Gibson disagree, noting that Crawley had a driver's license that bears the name of someone in West Memphis, Ark.
Many of Crawley's previous convictions are from crimes in Memphis, according to his case file.
Moments after the jury delivered its verdict, Marshall County Circuit Court Judge Robert Crigler said Crawley: "has got holds on him at other counties;" many have another sentence for him, and; "If there was a bond, the court will revoke it."
One of those other counties is Lincoln where Greene anticipates a status conference with Crigler on whether there will be a disposition instead of a trial in Fayetteville.
Crawley's letter to the prosecutor says that he "really would not want to die in prison."