Testa slams Murphy after inmate released during COVID-19 purge commits murder two days later

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Senator Michael Testa said murder charges filed against a former inmate freed by Governor Phil Murphy demonstrate the insanity of the administration’s early release of thousands of dangerous inmates during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A member of the public is now dead as a direct result of the Murphy administration’s dangerous early release policy,” said Testa (R-1). “According to the charges filed by prosecutors, it took just two days for a released inmate to commit murder after his sentence was cut short and he was set free. We warned Governor Murphy that he was putting the public at risk, but he disagreed, with tragic results.”

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NJ.com reported today on criminal charges filed against Jerry D. Crawford for a murder he is alleged to have committed just two days after his release from South Woods State Prison. The victim’s body was found less than a half-mile from the prison.

Crawford is one of thousands of inmates in state prisons who received “public health emergency credits” during the pandemic which allowed them to be released before they had served their terms in full.


The Murphy administration said the early releases were necessary to protect prisoners from the threat of dangerous outbreaks they could have been exposed to had they remained behind bars.

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Testa said that the governor showed no such concern for the vulnerable nursing homes residents he put at risk when he ordered their facilities to accept sick COVID patients from hospitals.

“While Governor Murphy was jamming nursing homes with sick COVID patients, he was emptying jails to protect prisoners,” Testa added. “It’s a level of insanity and hypocrisy that’s almost beyond belief. Governor Murphy owes New Jersey an apology for the 8,000 nursing home deaths he caused and the criminals he freed who are driving his death toll even higher.”