Ex-Cop Sentenced for Murder of Wife, Stepdaughter in Front of House

A former police officer from Virginia, aged 60, has been sentenced to life imprisonment for the brutal murder of his wife and stepdaughter two years ago. Richard C. Crowder was handed a 100-year sentence by a Henrico County Circuit Court judge on Friday for the 2022 murders of Diane Crowder, 53, and Carrie Szaksz, 35, according to court documents.

In February, Crowder admitted to two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the fatal shootings of the two women. The judge ordered him to serve two consecutive 50-year sentences, one for each victim.

Crowder also entered what is known as Alford pleas for two counts of attempted aggravated murder of a law enforcement officer. This type of plea allows a defendant to maintain their innocence while acknowledging that the state has enough evidence to convict them. Crowder was accused of shooting at his former colleagues who arrived at the scene during a lengthy standoff. For these charges, he received an additional 50-year sentence, bringing his total sentence to 150 years.

The tragic incident occurred in July 2022. Diane Crowder was in the process of moving out of the home she shared with Richard Crowder in the 7600 block of Phillips Wood Drive, approximately 11 miles southeast of Richmond, Virginia. Diane Crowder and her daughter were outside the home, while a team of movers worked inside. Richard Crowder arrived at the scene with a handgun.

“Diane Crowder was leaving her husband and moving out of their home. She had enlisted the help of her family, including her daughter, Carrie Szaksz,” Henrico County Commonwealth Attorney Shannon Taylor said about the case. “During the move, with the moving company’s employees upstairs and other family members outside the home, Richard Crowder opened fire on the two women, hitting them multiple times and killing them.”

During the sentencing hearing on Friday, the judge stated that Crowder’s case was unforgettable, adding that the former Henrico County Police Officer had violated his vows to protect his community and his wife.

The movers who were present during the incident told investigators that the atmosphere was tense even before the shooting. They had been warned that the male resident of the house was “drunk and agitated.” One mover reported hearing screaming, yelling, cursing, followed by gunshots and then silence. The movers managed to escape from the second floor of the house, one of them injuring himself in the process. They ran through the woods and called the authorities, still hearing gunshots.

Crowder subsequently barricaded himself in the house, leading to a nine-hour standoff with the police, during which he fired multiple shots at the officers.