Johnny Crawford Murder: Where Are Ted and Lance Nixon Now?

Investigation Discovery’s ‘Homicide Hunter: Lt. Joe Kenda: Settle the Score’ features the murder of 19-year-old Johnny Crawford inside his Colorado Springs, Colorado, apartment in October 1985. The authorities discovered the teen was a victim of an unfortunate role of events over which he had no control.

Johnny Crawford Was Shot to Death

On October 11, 1985, Oscar Redman, 20, was playing video games in his Colorado Springs, Colorado, apartment around 9 pm. He heard someone ringing his doorbell constantly and opened the door to find his neighbor, Paul Chapelle, asking to use his phone. Paul Called 911 and claimed his roommate, Johnny Crawford, had been shot. When the homicide investigators arrived at the crime scene, 19-year-old Johnny had been already transported to St. Francis Hospital. He had been shot one time in the chest and once in the foot.

Johnny was declared dead upon arrival at the hospital. The investigators interviewed Paul, who had been Johnny’s roommate for a couple of months, and learned the victim was from West Virginia. He had come to Colorado Springs to look for employment opportunities and was in between jobs when the shooting occurred. The autopsy report determined the gunshot wound to the chest proved fatal as the slug penetrated some vital organs, and he internally bled to death.

Johnny Crawford Was Killed Following an Argument

The officers investigated the crime scene, which was undisturbed and had nothing out of place. They learned Johnny was shot while he was sitting in his easy chair. The detectives found one bullet hole in the wall, one in the floor, and three .25-caliber automatic shell casings on the ground. They questioned Paul to learn he had been inside the kitchen when Johnny was in the living room with four people. He claimed he knew one of them — Bud Carpenter, Johnny’s former roommate. However, he stated he did not know the other three men.

Based on Paul’s description, the investigators learned two individuals had blonde hair while the third was muscular and stood on the side. He stated he was in the kitchen when he heard Johnny arguing about a guitar and an amplifier. According to Paul, the argument escalated, with one blond-haired male shooting Johnny before they fled with the amplifier. The police got Bud’s address from some of Johnny’s old mail and visited him. He told them he had been at Johnny’s place when three men knocked on the door, and his friend let them in.

According to Bud, two men started arguing with Johnny about a guitar and an amplifier before the voices were raised, and the situation got tense. He claimed they shot Johnny and threatened him with the gun before fleeing with the amplifier. The police discovered Bud was a Vietnam war veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Due to his psychiatric state, he avoided conflicts and seemed upset. However, he supplied the detectives with an important clue — the name “Harvey” — which he claimed he heard repeatedly during the argument.

When the police called Johnny’s family to inform them of the tragic news, his stepfather picked up and inquired whether the police had talked with Johnny’s elder brother, Harvey Crawford. He also provided the officers with the phone number of an aunt in Rocky Ford, where Harvey resided. The big brother volunteered to meet with the detectives at a local diner and narrated a bizarre story. He claimed he had invited Johnny to Colorado Springs and offered him a job in his carpet laying company.

However, business dried up, and Harvey was desperate to provide for his younger brother. He alleged he met a man at a bar a week ago, who sold him six ounces of cocaine at a dirt cheap price of $200. Having never used or dealt drugs, Harvey was at a loss with what to do with it when Oscar Redman volunteered to introduce him to potential clients — Ted and Lance Nixon. According to the show, Oscar and the Nixon brothers had grown up together in Nebraska and were friendly with each other.

Harvey stated he exchanged the cocaine with the Nixons for a guitar and an amplifier. Claiming to be a musician, he conveyed he sold the guitar and provided Johnny with some cash to make ends meet. However, Oscar soon met with Harvey and told him the cocaine was not high quality, and the Nixon brothers were pissed. They had threatened to shoot Harvey if he did not return the musical instruments. Hearing the story, the investigators questioned Oscar about the brothers’ whereabouts.

Oscar even told the police about the muscular man the Nixon brothers had brought — a huge dude named Ralph Spencer. The police noted the Nixons brothers’ address from Oscar before raiding their trailer and finding the duo had escaped. The Nebraska State Police found their abandoned vehicle on a state highway, and the authorities contacted the Nixon household. They explained the gravity of the situation to the pair’s mother, and the Nixon brothers surrendered to their nearby police station within an hour.

Ted and Lance Nixon Have Served Their Time

While they were being extradited to Colorado, the Nixon brothers claimed Johnny had pulled a knife on them, and Ted Nixon was allegedly forced to shoot him. Meanwhile, Paul picked Ralph from a photo line-up along with the Nixon brothers as the three men inside his apartment on the night of the shooting. Faced with all the evidence, Ralph confessed how he had accompanied the Nixon brothers to Johnny’s apartment to help them intimidate and get back their guitar and amplifier.

However, he alleged the brothers were embroiled in an argument with a cocky Johnny before Ted shot him in a moment of rage. The police believed Ralph had no idea about what was going to happen, and he was let go without being charged with any wrongdoing. Ted Nixon pled guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 14 years. Lance Nixon was allowed to plead guilty to a lesser charge of being an accessory to the crime since the officers believed he also had no control when his brother fired the gun. Therefore, upon serving their respective sentences, it appears as if Ted and Lance are now free men leading quiet lives well away from the limelight.

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