Interview reveals suspect hit grandmother with pan, threw her out with trash


by Adam Walser

Posted on March 13, 2013 at 4:18 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 13 at 7:13 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- New details have emerged in the case of a woman accused of murdering her grandmother at her Okolona home, then leaving her body in a trash can.

Ellen Nicole Crawley, who goes by Nicki, has been held at Metro Corrections since her arrest six months ago.

The state may seek the death penalty in the case, since prosecutors say she killed her grandmother after committing a burglary, left her grandmother’s corpse in a trash can and stole several items from her home.

On the tape, the 21-year-old calmly demonstrated how she choked her grandmother to death, saying she held her down and choked her for “a minute or under.”

The four hour interrogation came days after 63-year-old Mary McClain's body was found in a trash can in her driveway last August.

Crawley admitted putting the body there before leaving with her grandmother's jewelry and phone.

“I lifted up the towel in the garbage can and seen a head,” neighbor Ron Minter said, recalling finding McClain’s body with McClain’s ex-husband.

“There was quite a bit of blood on old towels that she had put in there,” Minter said. “Come to find out that she had drug the body out the night she had done it and stuffed her in that garbage can. That was on a Saturday, and, of course, we found it on a Monday. It had all kinds of flies.”

The blood came after Crawley admitted she struck her grandmother over the head with a skillet she grabbed off the kitchen stove.

Crawley said she used the pan to knock her grandmother to the ground, then choked her to death.

“It happened so fast. I just took it and hit her," she told detectives during the interview.

The fight that broke out between Crawley and McClain came days after McClain tried to kick Crawley, an admitted drug user, out of her house.

Crawley had lived with her grandmother on-and-off for several months.

“She tried to say that I'm a prostitute,  I aint' no good, my boy's the devil, she's gonna hit me and him both,” Crawley told police.

“They'd get in the driveway and swing at one another. It was a mess. It was a mess,” Minter said.

Evidence released includes a message McClain left on her sister’s voice mail days before her death.

“I had to call a locksmith to come in and open the doors and then changed the locks of the deadbolts, so that she can't get in. And I'm not letting her in. I don't want her here anymore,” McClain said.

“You couldn't do anything to help that girl. The more you'd do for her, the less she'd appreciate it,” Minter said.

Crawley is scheduled for another hearing in July.

We asked her for an interview Wednesday but she refused our request.