MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A lawyer said that if his client confessed to three killings in New York, the
statements may not have been voluntary.

Defense attorney Angelo MacDonald spoke after a brief court session in the murder case against 60-year-old Lucius Crawford of Mount Vernon.

Police said last week that Crawford confessed to stabbing three women to death in Mount Vernon, Yonkers and the Bronx. He has been charged in only the Mount Vernon case and has pleaded not guilty.

Crawford was arrested after officers found the body of Tonya Simmons, 42, of Mount Vernon, stabbed nine times in the chest under a sheet on his bed, police said.

Police responded to the home after receiving a call that a woman had been hurt at the address.

“We subsequently found out that the person who made the phone call was Mr. Crawford, himself,” Mount Vernon Police Commissioner Carl Bell said last week. “He called the station twice.”

When police arrived, Bronx and Yonkers detectives were already there investigating Crawford for two cold-case murders 19 years ago, police said.

“This was purely coincidental,” NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne said. “He was apprehended and confessed to all three murders.”

MacDonald said he’s been given copies of statements Crawford allegedly made to police. He said he has doubts about whether they were voluntary.

Crawford, shackled hand and foot, did not speak in court. His lawyer waived his right to a felony hearing and the case was transferred to a Westchester County grand jury.

The NYPD said it also notified Suffolk County police of the arrest to determine if Crawford has any links to the unsolved Gilgo Beach murders.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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