Saturday, May 26, 2018

Man to be executed for 1986 rape, murder in Crystal River

TALLAHASSEE — Angie Crowley was making her first long trip through Florida on Memorial Day weekend in 1986 and was taking extra care to make sure she'd arrive okay.

This was in the time before cellphones and GPS, and she was prone to getting lost, so she spent three hours on the phone with her brother Chris before making the 300-mile drive from Fort Lauderdale, where she had recently moved, to Yankeetown. Chris was 1,300 miles away in their hometown of Oregon, Ill., and both laid maps out on the floor to plan a route.

"We just sort of mapped it out together. It was 1986 — the old school way," he said.

Crowley, 21, never arrived at her destination. She prearranged with her friend to meet at a convenience store in Crystal River so she could be guided the last few miles of the trip. Crowley found the store, but before she could get to the pay phone, William Happ smashed her car window and kidnapped her. He beat her, raped her and strangled her with her pants before throwing her body into a canal.

Now, more than 27 years later, Happ is scheduled to be executed on Tuesday at Florida State Prison in Starke. It's a day Chris Crowley has pushed for through an online petition and an email campaign to Gov. Rick Scott's office.

"He killed my sister, he took her life. But when he took that life, he created so many other victims," Crowley said. "What he did affected everybody. It ate my mother up. I changed jobs and moved all within three months.

"He took away the potential. There were seven kids in that family and she had the greatest potential of everybody. She had the personality, she had the looks, she had the smarts and she had the attitude. She really, really accomplished things and he took that," Crowley said. "We were never able to see it."

And the praise is not just because he's a loving brother. Angie Crowley's friends said she had a magnetic personality. She was a talented musician, honor student and a cheerleader with tons of friends. Always smiling, she never said anything bad about anybody.

"She was a sweetheart. Everybody just loved her, she had a great personality. She was prom queen, she was homecoming queen. She was just a gorgeous, gorgeous girl," said Jim Kaufman, a classmate who visited Crowley in Florida just before her slaying. "All of her classmates were devastated. Everybody in the whole town was."

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