Lance Cpl. Robert Crutchfield, R.I.P.:
On leave from the violence he had survived in the war in Iraq, a young Marine was so wary of crime on the streets of his own home town that he carried only $8 to avoid becoming a robbery target.
Despite his caution, Lance Cpl. Robert Crutchfield, 21, was shot point-blank in the neck during a robbery at a bus stop.
Feeding and breathing tubes kept him alive 41/2 months, until he died of an infection on May 18.
Two men have been charged in the attack, and Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason said Friday the case was under review to decide whether to seek the death penalty.
“It is an awful story,” said Alberta Holt, the young Marine’s aunt and his legal guardian when he was a teenager determined to flee a troubled Cleveland school for safer surroundings in the suburbs.
Crutchfield was attacked on January 5 while he and his girlfriend were waiting for a bus. He had heeded the warnings of commanders that a Marine on leave might be seen as a prime robbery target with a pocketful of money, so he only carried $8, his military ID card and a bank card.
“They took it, turned his pockets inside out, took what he had and told him since he was a Marine and didn’t have any money he didn’t deserve to live. They put the gun to his neck and shot him,” Holt told The Associated Press.
… Connie LaNasa, who works in [Crutchfield’s high] school office, said Crutchfield was a well-behaved student and went about his school work with little notice.
“He lived out what he wanted to do and that is to be a Marine,” LaNasa said.