Condemned Child Killer Commits Suicide on Death Row
James Lee Crummel, 68, on death row at San Quentin State Prison for nearly eight years, was found hanging in his prison cell Sunday afternoon. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced the condemned man's death Tuesday.
Crummel was sentenced to death in 2004 for the 1979 murder of an Orange County 13-year-old boy.
Authorities said Crummel snatched the boy as he walked to meet his school bus in Costa Mesa on April 19, 1979, reports City News Service. The boy's remains were discovered on a hiking trail near Lake Elsinore in 1990, but they were not identified as the victim, James "Jamey" Wilfred Trotter, until 1996, notes the CDCR.
Crummel claimed he had stumbled upon the bones and was identified as a prime suspect after investigators delved into his background. Previously, Crummel had been convicted in California and in other states since the mid-1960s in multiple child molestation cases. He had also been convicted of killing a 9-year-old boy in Arizona, but the conviction was tossed out by a judge who did not believe Crummel had received adequate legal representation.
He was still a suspect in the disappearance of two other boys.
Authorities found Crummel hanging in his cell Sunday afternoon, and he was pronounced dead at 4:20 p.m. that day. Crummel was the sole occupant of the cell.