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A man suspected of participating in a 2013 murder-for-hire scheme that resulted in the death of a James City County woman pleaded not guilty to capital murder charges on Friday.
Gregory Andrew Crawford, 25, was indicted on one count of capital murder and one count of conspiracy to commit capital murder in March for his suspected involvement in the death of Dana Patterson Mackay, who was found dead in her Seasons Trace home in July 2013.
Both charges carry either the death penalty or life in prison.
Crawford requested a jury during a video appearance in Williamsburg-James City County Circuit Court. The jury trial is set to run for three days, beginning at 8:30 a.m. Aug. 25.
He did not say anything during his brief appearance in court Friday other than his request for the jury trial.
Three others have already pleaded guilty to involvement in Dana Mackay’s death: her husband, John Wayne Mackay; his girlfriend, Nicole Houchin; and his girlfriend’s husband, Nace Eugene Houchin.
Court records indicate investigators believe Nace Houchin killed Dana Mackay in her second-floor bedroom while Nicole Houchin and Crawford were downstairs. Crawford is alleged to have ransacked the first floor of the house to make the incident appear to be a robbery.
He is then suspected of driving the Houchins to his apartment at Monticello at Powhatan behind Monticello Marketplace ,where he allegedly took the breaker bar used to kill Dana Mackay and the clothing the group wore.
Investigators believe Crawford burned the clothing and threw the breaker bar into the James River. Nace Houchin told police Crawford was acting under the assumption he would receive $20,000 for participating in the scheme.
Crawford was arrested in February, shortly after Nicole Houchin and John Mackay accepted plea deals that reduced their capital murder charges to first-degree murder in exchange for providing investigators with information about the case.
Crawford’s potential connection to the case first surfaced in November 2013 during a preliminary hearing for John Mackay.
Nace Houchin also accepted a plea deal that eliminates the possibility of the death penalty in exchange for working with investigators. He is scheduled to be sentenced alongside his wife and John Mackay at 9 a.m. May 15.
WYDaily’s Marie Albiges contributed to this report.