On 7 April 1993, Karen Crawford, 26 had just been to the supermarket and stopped to collect her post before unloading her car. It was a bad move, because she was pounced on from behind and dragged in the loos. Her attacker then tried to rape her. But she’d left her keys in her mailbox and someone passing noticed and got suspicious.
They told maintenance man, Billy Hall, who tracked back to Crawford’s apartment then noticed her dog inside her car. Well suspicious by now he noticed the loo was locked. So he knocked and a man answered that the loo was being used. Hall became suspicious and lay in wait. Despite Hall’s attempts to prevent Thacker from escaping, he managed to flee via a wooded area.
Crawford meanwhile was partially clothed, unconscious and not breathing. She died three days later.
Thacker was detained on the strength of numerous witnesses seeing him in the area and his truck being parked in the car park.
It transpired that Thacker had previous. In June 1987, he robbed one woman and sexually assaulted another and he was convicted of these crimes. But it turned out there were plenty more who came forward to testify. He’d molested a five-year-old girl, assaulted and robbed an adult woman.
After he was released in 1992, he sexually assaulted another woman and another in February 1993.
While inside, Thacker tried to pass it off, saying he was there because he was gearing up to rob the complex and that he was wearing different clothing to that described. He also blamed Crawford’s death on Billy Hall’s CPR, implying it was botched job. But his attempt to wheedle his way out of a murder charge failed.
The wealth of evidence against him ensured he got the death penalty and all his appeals fell on deaf ears. At his execution, 36-year-old Thacker said ‘I am sorry for the things I have done. I know God will forgive me’. He was pronounced dead at 6:32pm on 9 November 2005 in Huntsville, Texas.
Interestingly, in 1995, the apartment complex was found guilty of negligence. It had failed to provide basic protection for residents. Karen Crawford’s parents, Charles and Mary were awarded $8.1 million in damages.