Arnold man charged in slaying

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By SCOTT PESZNECKER

Arlin Dale Crawford of Arnold was charged in court yesterday with shooting and killing an Avery man.

But no murder charges were filed against his roommate, Carol Lou Stites, who was released.

Both Crawford and Stites were arrested last week in connection with the death of Bradford Lavelle Davis, 52, whose body was found near White Pines Lake on July 6.

Calaveras County District Attorney Jeff Tuttle said the investigation has not turned up enough evidence to warrant charges against Stites. He said it is "unlikely" future charges will be filed.

Criminal complaints against Crawford and Stites, who both live in the Mill Woods subdivision, were read at separate arraignments yesterday in Calaveras County Superior Court.

Crawford, 39, did not enter a plea yesterday to charges of first-degree murder with a firearm, being a felon in possession of a firearm, cultivating marijuana and possessing a controlled substance.

Stites, 44 a Calaveras County Mental Health Services nurse was released on her own recognizance and faces two drug-possession charges, to which she pleaded not guilty.

Crawford appeared calm and alert throughout his hearing. He wore shackles and a red prison jumpsuit.

Calaveras County Judge Douglas Mewhinney continued Crawford's arraignment until 1:30 p.m. Monday and set his bail at $1.5 million. He remains in the county jail.

After the hearing, sheriff's Capt. Ron McFall said the investigation has turned up a possible motive for the murder: Crawford might have believed Davis assaulted a mutual friend.

Stites was arrested the same day as Crawford and was booked at the Calaveras County Jail. But she was transferred to the Tuolumne County Jail over the weekend "for her own safety," because of her position as a mental-health nurse, a sheriff's department spokeswoman said.

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