‘I have a family’: Prosecutors show dashcam footage leading to Uber driver, homicide of Turtle Creek mother
For nearly 20 minutes, Christi Spicuzza’s last Uber fare seemed relatively normal.
She picked up the man around 9:15 p.m. on February 10 and he slipped into the backseat of his Nissan Sentra through the rear passenger-side door.
He said only a few words, but the traffic seemed relatively light as Spicuzza – shown by the dash cam his fiancé bought him, cruised from Brinton Road in Pitcairn to Dersam Street in Penn Hills.
As she drives down Pershing Street towards the intersection, she can be heard asking the man sitting in the back which side of the street her destination was on. It’s unclear if he responded, but footage shows him sliding to the middle of the backseat and putting a black handgun to Spicuzza’s head.
The video shows her reaching out and feeling the metal, then saying, “You must be kidding.”
Around 10:30 p.m., according to police, Spicuzza, of Turtle Creek, was shot in a wooded area off Rosecrest Drive in Monroeville.
Detectives said the man in the back was 22-year-old Calvin Crew, and a judge agreed on Wednesday there was enough evidence to send Crew to trial for homicide, kidnapping and robbery.
Crew, wearing a black and white striped jumpsuit from the Allegheny County Jail, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The preliminary hearing, delayed nearly two hours due to lengthy courtroom proceedings beforehand, lasted just over an hour.
Much of the hearing was just Allegheny County police detectives recounting how they found Spicuzza, his car, his cell phone and his dash cam. She was reported missing the same night she was killed after her fiance was unable to get in touch with her after she went to drive for Uber.
Investigators found his Nissan on Fourth Avenue in Pitcairn on Saturday morning. About four hours later, they found her body in the woods about 50 feet from Rosecrest Drive. Detectives said a delivery driver noticed the body and called 911.
Police said she was shot in the back of the neck. Detective Greg Renko testified that a spent 9mm Luger shell casing was found about 5 or 6 feet behind Spicuzza’s body. No bullets, he said, were recovered.
The dash cam, found along a street in Penn Hills, showed part of the route leading to Spicuzza’s death.
After the seemingly normal ride, the man in the backseat – whom police have identified as Crew – leans forward and places the gun to Spicuzza’s head.
“Come on,” she said. “I have a family.”
Several times she asked, “Why are you doing this? the pictures showed.
The crew told him to keep driving, while keeping the gun to his head with his right hand and holding Spicuzza’s ponytail with the other.
“I beg you, I have four children,” she pleaded. He told her to keep driving and everything would be fine.
The video ends around 9:34 p.m., with Crew reaching out and removing the dash cam.
Spicuzza’s iPhone – which was found the next day under the Triboro highway – recorded its position every few seconds. He indicated that he was going through Wilkinsburg on Wallace Avenue.
The detective said someone tried to access various money transfer apps before he stopped on Rosecrest Drive near where Spicuzza’s body was found.
Detectives previously detailed the phone’s route from there in the criminal complaint against Crew: it traveled to Pitcairn and ended up on Mosside Boulevard around 10.30pm. The phone moved down Route 30 towards the Westinghouse Bridge and stopped moving around 10:40 p.m. around the same location it was found.
Crew told police during his first interview that Spicuzza dropped him off near Dersam and Pershing streets, after which he walked to a Port Authority bus stop in Wilkinsburg. He said he took a bus to Pitcairn. Detectives said they could not find any footage of him on security cameras in either area, nor found any footage of him on the bus on Port Authority cameras.
Crew’s public defender Joshua Roberts did not call any defense witnesses. He asked mostly technical questions of the detectives that Assistant District Attorney Kevin Chernosky called to testify at the hearing. He offered no final argument.
Crew did not speak during the hearing, although he spoke often with Roberts’ co-lawyer throughout the proceedings. The sheriff’s deputy brought her a chair halfway through the hearing. Nearly a dozen members of his family and relatives attended the hearing, seated across from members of Spicuzza’s family.
Neither family commented after the hearing, nor did Chernosky or Roberts. A judge issued a gag order in the case on March 15.
Crew will remain in the Allegheny County Jail where he is being held without bond. The formal arraignment is scheduled for April 22.
Editor’s note: The Tribune-Review has reviewed Christi Spicuzza’s Uber dashboard camera video that was presented in court on Wednesday and has decided not to publish it.
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