Crawford pleaded guilty to the shooting in July, proffering that on June 3 he brought a .380 caliber semi-automatic pistol in a bag to the Falcons` practice at McKinley Technology High School.
Crawford told investigators that he believed Thomas was having an affair with his wife.
At sentencing Crawford told the court that he only brought the gun to practice because Thomas had “threatened” him, saying, “this is your last day on earth.”
Thomas’ mother, Nettie Thomas, said it was the other way around. The day her son was killed, she said, she spoke with him about Crawford. Concerned that her son had received numerous text and voice messages from Crawford, she said she asked him before he left for football practice, “You think you need to go up there with him acting crazy?”
Thomas told her not to worry, she said.
Just hours later, according to court documents, Crawford and Thomas were in the school parking lot discussing their disagreement. Crawford left the argument, ran to his gym bag, and retrieved his gun. He then fired at least four shots at Thomas and ran away.
Prosecutors, and Thomas’ family, asked for the maximum penalty possible.
“The court should have no mercy on him whatsoever,” Derrick Adair, Thomas’ brother, told the court. “Society should be tired of being preyed upon by people like Mr. Crawford. [Thomas] didn’t deserve to die in the streets with a bullet in his head at the hands of a coward.”
Crawford responded, saying that he was sorry for the shooting and loss of life.
“I’ve been locked up and I can think of a million ways now it could have been different,’ he said.
He added, “I was going back to school and playing football. I’m an educated black man. Now my dream of college football is dead. I’m way above this and I know that. I’ll accept responsibility. I just want a fair shot, that’s it.”
But Thomas’ sister, Regina Thomas, said no outcome was fair.
“It did not turn out well for either side,” she said. “We lost somebody. They lost somebody. This part is over. Now we heal. One day at a time.”
A press release fron the US Attorney’s Office is below Maryland Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Prison For Killing Another Man Outside a High School- Defendant Chased Victim, Firing At Least Four Gunshots -
WASHINGTON - Oma Crawford, 25, of Landover, Md., was sentenced today to 20 years in prison for killing a man earlier this year outside a high school in the District of Columbia, U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. announced.
Crawford pled guilty in July 2011 in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia to a charge of second-degree murder while armed. He was sentenced by the Honorable William M. Jackson. Upon completion of his prison term, Crawford will be placed on five years of supervised release.
According to the government’s evidence, Crawford and the victim, Ralph Thomas, 36, knew each other for several years through their involvement in high school and semi-professional football. At the time of the killing, in June 2011, Crawford played for the D.C. Falcons, and Thomas worked in the management of the team.
Crawford was upset with Thomas over a personal matter, and, on June 3, 2011, he brought a .380-caliber semi-automatic pistol in a gym bag with him to a Falcons’ practice at McKinley Technology High School, in the 100 block of T Street NE. Crawford set down his gym bag at the edge of the parking lot and he and Thomas had a discussion at about 8:30 p.m.
At some point in the exchange, Crawford ran to the gym bag, pulled out the gun and chased Thomas around the parking lot, firing at least four shots. The victim, who was unarmed, was struck by a bullet in the head and he died as a result of the injury.
In announcing the sentence, U.S. Attorney Machen praised the work of those who investigated the case for the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), including Detectives Anthony Greene, Gabriel Truby, and Konstantinos Giannakoulias, and Officers Terrence Richardson and Titus Pittman. Finally, he commended Assistant U.S. Attorney Todd Gee, who prosecuted the case.