PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A man accused of escaping from the Armstrong County Jail last summer and murdering a woman who was an acquaintance of his was found guilty by a jury on Thursday.
It took the jury less than two hours to convict 38-year-old Robert Crissman, Jr. in the strangulation death of 55-year-old Tammy Long.
Crissman was found guilty of first- and second-degree murder and is facing a mandatory life sentence.
The trial was an emotional ordeal for Long’s family members and loved ones who endured hours of graphic testimony and horrific crime scene photos.
Tim Mohney, the victim’s brother, said it feels like a burden has been lifted.
“Instead of murdering her, he could have just stole the truck and left that be that. But he didn’t do that. He chose to kill her. But I do feel sorry for him,” said Mohney outside the courthouse.
Jury Foreman David Jackson said, “We came to the conclusion that he went there to get a ride, and after Terry left, something happened that caused him to snap.”
Jackson told KDKA the bloody shirt sealed the case for the jury.
“That was the heart of our case,” said District Attorney Scott Andreassi. “You can’t explain away the fact that your shirt is at the scene with the victim’s blood on it.”
Authorities said Crissman escaped from the Armstrong County Jail last July and made his way to Long’s home. Investigators say that’s where he beat and strangled the victim with a shoelace, and then stole her boyfriend’s truck.
Surveillance video was played during the trial that showed Crissman, who was a trustee at the jail, escaping in July 2015.
Prosecutors say he eventually he ended up at Long’s nearby home.
Long’s boyfriend, Terry Slagle, took the witness stand earlier in the week and he told the jury, “I went into the house and found her dead in the bathroom. I ran outside screaming, ‘He killed her! He killed her!”
Crissman then allegedly stole Long’s truck as well as a second truck before being arrested after a pursuit the next day.
Dr. Cyril Wecht, who examined the body, also testified during the trial.
“It was a very long shoelace that encircled Ms. Long’s neck in the front and on the sides and through a slipknot once around the back,” he said.
Prosecutors say that shoelace came from a pair of tennis shoes Crissman was allegedly wearing the day he escaped from jail. But the defense argued during the trial that there was no DNA testing of the shoes and they could not be connected to the murder.