Judge rules no evidence of self-defense by tow truck driver in k - KMSP-TV

Judge rules no evidence of self-defense by tow truck driver in killing

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Corey Stoddard Corey Stoddard

Court testimony revealed Wednesday the tow truck driver who admitted running over a gunman who robbed him New Year’s Eve got out of the truck and took the man’s clothes before leaving the scene.

Corey Stoddard is claiming self-defense for killing Kevin Crouch, but prosecutors are calling it murder.

There is no dispute over what happened to Stoddard as he assisted a customer in his tow lot on Kenilworth Avenue in Northeast D.C. on New Year’s Eve.

Video from a surveillance camera shows the tow truck driver being pistol-whipped and robbed by a man with a gun.

The dispute lies in the minutes that followed when Stoddard decided to get in his truck and pursue the man who attacked him.

Stoddard had nothing to say as he left D.C. Superior Court.

The tow truck driver declined to comment. So did his lawyer. The two had just attended a preliminary hearing where the judge had found probable cause to move the case on to the next phase.

Despite the charge of second-degree murder, Stoddard is not being held and instead wears a GPS monitoring bracelet.

Court testimony revealed Stoddard and a co-worker were in the collision towing lot assisting a customer when Crouch approached with a gun and announced a robbery.

A D.C. police detective says Stoddard threw his wallet at Crouch after being pistol-whipped and then went after him in his truck.

Detective Gabriel Truby told the court the robbery was over when Crouch, the alleged gunman, left the tow yard and went out to the sidewalk along Kenilworth Avenue. 20 to 30 seconds later, he said, Stoddard got into his tow truck and came out onto the sidewalk after Crouch.

The difference between self-defense and murder has to do with whether Crouch pulled the gun again and aimed it at the driver.

In his statement to police, Stoddard simply said, "He pointed a gun at me so I hit him with my truck.”

It is a statement the detective in court called "ambiguous."

Did Stoddard actually mean in the tow lot where the camera captured the assault? Or out on the sidewalk where the only other witness is dead.

When first responders found Crouch on the sidewalk, he was missing his pants and jacket. Underneath his body was a BB gun.

Police believe Stoddard got out of his truck and took the gunman’s clothes in hopes of getting his wallet back. That didn't happen.

The wallet was found at the scene and turned over to a couple of FBI agents who had been in the area on another assignment.

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