Twisted tale of robbery, kidnapping, prostitution

Janelle Crutchfield

The Criminal District Court in Jefferson County is a busy place. Judge John Stevens has presided over more than 360 trials since he was elected to the bench in 2006 and has heard every bizarre manifestation of human behavior conceivable in that time. And hundreds of cases don’t even end up in a trial because defendants enter guilty pleas trying to avoid a maximum sentence. That was the case this week when a handcuffed and manacled Janelle Crutchfield was brought in on an aggravated robbery charge facing 99 years in prison.

This story involved some familiar elements but quickly veered out of control. It started with an advertisement on Backpage.com, a website associated with prostitution that has been a factor in a number of cases in recent years. A 27-year-old man connected with a prostitute identified only as Ashley Big Baby in a house at 12416 Garner, but it wasn’t until after their brief sexual encounter that the real trouble started.

According to a probable cause affidavit from Detective Tiffany Sanders of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, before the man could leave the residence, Ashley panicked when two cars pulled up and three men and two women exited the vehicles. One of the women was the aforementioned Ms. Crutchfield. Two men were identified as Dean Michael Olson and Douglas Haddad, while a third was known only as “T.”

The 27-year-old “customer” attempted to leave but was restrained by the men who robbed him of his phone, cash and debit card and tied his hands behind his back with a zip tie and took him back inside the home. They pointed a revolver and shotgun at him as one man showed off his prison tattoos, which he said represented the Aryan Brotherhood and SWS (Solid Wood Soldiers). The woman, identified as Cheryl Howard, then drafted a statement for the victim to sign saying he gave them permission to use his car.

According to the affidavit, the victim said “the male suspects participated in the incident but the females appeared to be part of the decision-making process.” As a result, all are facing felony charges in the robbery. Howard was arrested in Vinton, Louisiana, and charged with possession of the victim’s stolen car. Before leaving in the car, they dumped the victim on Highway 73 with his hands still bound behind his back and a bandana over his face.

Haddad and his girlfriend Crutchfield lived at the house on Garner Street where the victim met the prostitute. Crutchfield told investigators she was forced into the crime by the domestic abuse of Haddad but acknowledged her participation in the crime. She agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a sentence of no more than seven years and will be sentenced by Judge Stevens on Nov. 2. Haddad faces charges of aggravated robbery and aggravated kidnapping. Dean Michael Olson is charged with aggravated robbery and aggravated kidnapping plus multiple controlled substance charges and forgery related to other incidents. Cheryl Howard is charged with aggravated robbery. All are awaiting trial at the Jefferson County Correctional Center.

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