Posted on August 16, 2021

Man Released Early From Prison Due to COVID Accused in Killing 2 Days Later

Matt Gray,, August 11, 2021

One of the men recently charged in the November 2020 shooting death of an 18-year-old Bridgeton resident was released from prison two days before the killing as part of an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in New Jersey detention facilities,

Jerry D. Crawford, 25, who was serving time on burglary charges, was released on “public health emergency credits” to mandatory parole supervision on Nov. 4, state Department of Corrections officials confirmed.

Jerry Crawford

Jerry Crawford

Crawford, an Atlantic City resident, and Yusuf Waites, 23, of Bridgeton, are charged with murder in the Nov. 6 shooting of Davion Scarbrough.

Following deaths and soaring infection rates attributed to COVID-19 in state prisons, thousands of inmates were released early under the emergency plan last year.

All of those freed early were within months of their release dates. Inmates convicted of murder, aggravated sexual assault and “repetitive, compulsive” sex offenders were excluded from the group considered for release.

Without the public health emergency credits, Crawford would have been scheduled for release the following month, on Dec. 24, a DOC official added.

Waites had been released from Garden State Youth Correctional Facility in Burlington County less than a month before the killing on Oct. 10 after completing his sentence on a gun charge.


When Crawford was charged last month, he was already in jail on gun and theft charges from an incident in December in which he was accused of stealing a vehicle involved in a crash in Bridgeton. Those charges were recently dismissed.


Crawford and Waites were indicted last week on charges of first-degree murder and first-degree conspiracy to commit murder in Scarbrough’s killing. Both remain jailed and are due back in court this week for hearings.

Their charges are contained in a sweeping 18-count indictment that includes eight other defendants, some of whom are charged in connection with another killing, a drive-by shooting and a daylight gun battle through Bridgeton last December.

While Crawford’s charges are confined to the Scarbrough homicide, Waites is also charged in another case included in the indictment.