DEATH PENALTY trial for Uber driver’s killing set to begin January,2024

A judge in Allegheny County recently ruled that the Pitcairn man accused of killing an Uber driver had no expectation of privacy inside the car where the attack occurred. Calvin Crew, 24, is set to stand trial in the death penalty case in January before Common Pleas Judge Edward J. Borkowski. Crew allegedly killed Christina Spicuzza on Feb. 10, 2022, after requesting a ride from her using his girlfriend’s Uber account.

According to police, Spicuzza picked up Crew in Pitcairn around 9:15 p.m. and, as she approached the drop-off location about 15 minutes later, Crew brandished a handgun, seized her by the hair, and placed the weapon at the back of her head. Crew instructed her to stop in a wooded area along Rosecrest Drive in Monroeville, where he allegedly killed her. Spicuzza’s body was discovered two days later. As part of the case against Crew, investigators stated that they retrieved the car’s dashboard camera, which recorded the events leading up to Spicuzza’s death.

Crew’s defense attorneys contended during a September hearing that the in-car camera violated Pennsylvania’s wiretap statute, which mandates notifying individuals that they are being recorded. Public defender Andy Howard claimed that Crew never consented to being recorded. Assistant District Attorney Emma Schoedel informed the court that it would have been evident from inside the vehicle that the camera, equipped with two lenses – one facing outside and the other into the passenger compartment – was recording. It had a visible display screen inside the car.

In his findings issued on Tuesday, Borkowski stated that Crew did not demonstrate an expectation of privacy inside the car. “Furthermore, considering the totality of the circumstances, it is evident that the defendant knew he was being recorded,” Borkowski wrote. “The camera’s display and (Crew’s) removal and disposal of the camera all confirm the defendant’s awareness of the recording device. Consequently, no notice was necessary.” In the same court order, Borkowski rejected several other motions by Crew, including one to suppress his police statement four days after Spicuzza’s death.

Initially, Crew was detained on an outstanding warrant accusing him of attempting to purchase a gun illegally. However, since Crew was not prohibited from making the purchase, the warrant was invalid. The defense argued that Crew should not have been detained. In his findings, Borkowski stated that law enforcement had an independent basis for detaining Crew for questioning in the homicide. Additionally, he noted, “the defendant voluntarily went to the police station, initiated the conversation regarding the unrelated warrant, and agreed voluntarily to speak with the detectives about the homicide.”