Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Crouch acquitted of battery charges

Assistant Public Defender Erika Bayless, left, and Jeffrey Christian Crouch leave the courtroom smiling Thursday.

BRENDAN FITTERER | Times

Assistant Public Defender Erika Bayless, left, and Jeffrey Christian Crouch leave the courtroom smiling Thursday.

NEW PORT RICHEY — Jeffrey Crouch once said he wanted people to stop comparing him to O.J. Simpson.

Okay, then how about Houdini?

Because Crouch escaped legal peril once again on Thursday when a jury acquitted him of two counts of misdemeanor battery.

"Thank you, jury," said Crouch, 52, waving to the jurors who set him free. "Thank you."

It was not his first escape.

Over the years juries have twice acquitted him of allegations he beat his girlfriend. He was found guilty of battery in 2000 and served 20 days in jail.

But it is his link to two unsolved murders that has made the name Jeffrey Christian Crouch so infamous in Pasco County.

In 1987, the strangled body of his wife, Jean, was found on Green Key Beach. Crouch was charged with her murder but a judge tossed his alleged confession because he had been denied the right to make a phone call.

In 1998, Crouch and his then-girlfriend, Anna May Becker, were named suspects in the death of his infant son, Travis. The baby died of a blow to the head, and they were the only adults home at the time. Police say Crouch remains a suspect.

To this day he denies playing any role in those deaths, just as he denied the latest allegations that he beat two people in his Port Richey home in October.

No, Crouch testified Thursday, he didn't choke or body slam anyone. He just wanted his buddy's girlfriend out of his house.

"Her boyfriend didn't like me grabbing her," Crouch told the jury. "So he attacked me. We went to the ground. I got him in a submission hold.

"That's it. We shook hands and hugged."

It might not have helped the state that everyone involved admitted they were drinking, that one victim couldn't be found and the victim who did testify had a prior conviction — not to mention the testimony of Crouch's girlfriend Melissa Ann Uhr backed his account.

Uhr, however, was the alleged victim in those old domestic violence cases. She blamed herself in two trials, and didn't show up for the third case.

Had he been convicted, Crouch faced up to two years in the county jail and probation.

He and his father, Richard Crouch, left the West Pasco Judicial Center with a mix of relief and defiance.

"He's been accused of a lot … ," the father said, "but ain't been convicted of anything."

Jamal Thalji can be reached at thalji@sptimes.com or (727) 869-6236.

Crouch acquitted of battery charges 08/14/08 [Last modified: Sunday, August 17, 2008 12:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. GOP senators blink on a big chance to repeal 'Obamacare'

    Nation

    WASHINGTON — After seven years of emphatic campaign promises, Senate Republicans demonstrated Wednesday they don't have the stomach to repeal "Obamacare" when it really counts, as the Senate voted 55-45 to reject legislation undoing major portions of Barack Obama's law without replacing it.

    U.S. Sen. Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) talks with reporters as he walks to the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday in Washington, DC. [Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]
  2. Rick Baker's debate answer revives painful St. Pete controversy

    Elections

    ST. PETERSBURG — Former Mayor Bill Foster fired one of his top administrators, Goliath Davis III, six years ago for disobeying an order to attend the funeral of a slain police officer.

    St. Petersburg police officers stand by two caskets before the beginning of the 2011 funeral services for Sgt. Thomas Baitinger and Officer Jeffrey Yaslowitz at the First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg. [DIRK SHADD   |  Times]
  3. Plan your weekend July 28-30: Comic Con, Lady Antebellum, Margarita Wars, Tampa's Fourth Friday

    Events

    Plan your weekend

    Geek out

    Tampa Bay Comic Con: The fan convention returns to the Tampa Convention Center this weekend, bringing actors Val Kilmer, Kate Beckinsale, Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek's Lt. Uhura), Khary Payton (Ezekiel in The Walking Dead) and the …

    Ibri Day poses for a photo at opening day of the 2015 Tampa Bay Comic Con at the Tampa Convention Center. (Friday, July 31, 2015.) [Photo Luis Santana | Times]
  4. Editorial: Trump assaults rule of law by attacking attorney general

    Editorials

    Jeff Sessions was a terrible choice for attorney general, and the policies he has pursued in his brief tenure — cracking down on immigrants, bullying sheriffs, prosecuting low-level offenders to the max — are counterproductive. But the stinging personal attacks President Donald Trump leveled at Sessions this …

    The stinging personal attacks President Donald Trump leveled at Attorney General Jess Sessions this week assault the integrity of the Department of Justice and the rule of law.
  5. Iowa group sues United over death of giant rabbit, Simon

    Nation

    DES MOINES, Iowa — A group of Iowa businessmen filed a lawsuit Wednesday against United Airlines over the death of Simon, a giant rabbit whose lifeless body was discovered in a kennel after a flight from London to Chicago.

    In this May 8, 2017 file photo, attorney Guy Cook speaks a news conference while looking at a photo of Simon, a giant rabbit that died after flying from the United Kingdom to Chicago, in Des Moines, Iowa. A group of Iowa businessmen have filed a lawsuit against United Airlines over the death of Simon. The businessmen filed the lawsuit Wednesday, July 26, 2017, more than three months after airline workers found the continental rabbit named Simon dead. [AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall]