Loading...
BYH. Asking Trump to eradicate corruption is like asking a pig to eradicate mud....

Once a champion, now an inmate

121417Cowboy
1 of 6

Curtis "Cowboy" Crandall, 58, once a kickboxing world champion, stands in a cell at the Pitt County Courthouse on Dec. 13, 2017 after being sentenced to seven years in prison for selling cocaine and being an habitual felon.

121417Curtis "Cowboy" Crandall
121417 Curtis "Cowboy" Crandall
121417 Curtis "Cowboy" Crandall
121417 Curtis "Cowboy" Crandall
121417 Curtis "Cowboy" Crandall
Loading…

By Beth Velliquette
The Daily Reflector

Thursday, December 14, 2017

On Nov. 10, 1984, Greenville resident Curtis “Cowboy” Crandall won the Men’s Super Light Heavyweight Kickboxing Championship of the World at the Reno MGM Grand Hotel and Casino.

He went to parties with celebrities like actor Burt Reynolds and wrestlers Dusty Roads and Ric Flare, and maybe could have had a career in movies. 

On Wednesday, Crandall, 58, appeared in Pitt County Criminal Superior Court and pleaded guilty to selling cocaine and being an habitual felon and was sentenced to a minimum of seven years in prison.

It is the 19th time he’s been sentenced to prison. His criminal record is lengthy.

Since 1984, he’s been convicted of assault, driving while impaired, and multiple counts of common law robbery, selling drugs, breaking and entering, larceny and possession with intent to sell and deliver cocaine, according to the N.C. Department of Correction.

Even as he was rising in the world of kickboxing in the early 1980s, Crandall, who was born in Greenville, started trying drugs. He did them all, he said, but it was the cocaine that got him, and it is cocaine that still has him.

In an jail cell interview Wednesday just after he had been sentenced to go back to prison, Crandall said that maybe someone will learn a lesson from his story and will stay away from drugs.

“The cocaine, it just ruined my life,” he said.

One of the lessons he’d like to impart to young people is to never try drugs and stay away from people who use drugs, he said.

“If you hang with fleas, you end up with them,” Crandall said.

CHAMP TO CHUMP

When Crandall was about 18, he met the late Bill McDonald at a gym in Greenville. McDonald, a renown martial artist and insurance salesman in Greenville, trained kickboxers including champion heavyweight kickboxer Demetrius Oaktree Edwards of Ayden.

McDonald invited Crandall to come over to his kickboxing studio and work out. Two months later, Crandall entered his first amateur fight, he said.

“I’ve got six brothers, and I’m the baby of the family,” Crandall said. “I already knew how to fight because I fought my brothers all the time.”

Superior Court Judge Jeff Foster heard Crandall’s case in Pitt County Criminal Superior Court, and Foster recalled that when he was in college at ECU many people knew of “Cowboy.” He always wore a cowboy hat and strode around town with an air of confidence, Foster said.

When Crandall turned pro, he traveled and fought throughout North America, including in Quebec, Toronto, Ottawa, Detroit, Madison Square Garden in New York City, Boston, Cincinnati, Las Vegas and Reno.

He was also starting to try drugs at the parties. He tried all kinds of drugs, but he loved the cocaine and became addicted to it.

“That’s what got my life messed up,” he said. “I didn’t even know I was gone until I got arrested.”

He was still fighting and won another championship but then walked away from it, and began spending time with his new best friend, cocaine. His life went from partying with celebrities to hanging out on street corners trying to figure out a way to come up with some money to buy more cocaine.

BUSTED AGAIN

Assistant District Attorney Caroline Webb said that Crandall was a target of a Greenville Police Department unit that was targeting street level dealers. On Aug, 25, 2016, a confidential informant with the department approached Crandall, who was hanging out in front of the Mid-Town Grocery on West 14th Street  and asked Crandall if he knew where he could buy some cocaine.

Crandall took the informant to a residence on Paris Avenue, took the informant’s money, went inside and came out with 1.3 grams of cocaine, Webb said.

“I’m just sorry I’ve done what I’ve done. I’m not a drug dealer,” Crandall said. “If you come up to me and I’m on it, yeah I’ll get it for you because I can [take] some for myself.”

His attorney, Mark Stewart, said Crandall was smart but because of his felony record and not being able to read or write above the third-grade level, it was hard for him to get a job.

Judge Foster recalled that when he graduated from college, he worked as a probation officer with Rick Streeter, who was Crandall’s probation officer.

Foster remembered that Crandall was always kind and respectful. “You were never anything but polite to me and Mr. Streeter,” Foster said.

Streeter tried to talk him out of using drugs, but it never worked, Foster said.

“I wish there was something that could have been done or could be done,” Foster said. “All these years were wasted.”

JUST SAY NO

Crandall agreed, although he indicated he may continue using cocaine in prison.

“You can get it in prison. Anything you can get on the street you can get in prison,” Crandall said. “If you stop us, we’ll find another way to get it.”

Foster, who sentenced Crandall to approximately 7 1/2 years to 10 years in prison, suggested young people might learn from Crandall about making the right decisions when they’re young.

“If you don’t drink, don’t start,” Crandall said. “That’s how I started; started smoking and drinking and trying to fit in.”

He advised young people that if their friends are drinking or starting to use drugs, change friends.

“Make some kind of excuse to get away from them,” Crandall said. 

The longest spell he spent in prison was 10 years, and now he’s starting seven more, he said.

“I’ve got to do these seven years because of my ignorance of drugs,” he said. “If I had a chance to do it over again, I would never do drugs. If anyone reads this article, I hope they never do drugs.”

Contact Beth Velliquette at bvelliquette@reflector.com or at 252-329-9566.

 

 

 

 

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Crime and Rescue

April 27, 2018

Jurors in the Park West murder trial heard testimony from a hair and fiber expert on Thursday morning, then were excused for the day. They will not return until Monday morning because a witness for the state is out of town. 

Michael Anthony O'Neal is on trial for first-degree murder in the…

April 27, 2018

A Greenville man reported he was assaulted and robbed of his shoes, car keys and wallet early Thursday.

According to Greenville police, the attack took place about 1 a.m. on Thursday in the 100 block of Toby Circle.

A pair of Jordan shoes valued at $150, a Dodge Charger key valued at $50 and a…

April 27, 2018

Three people were left with possible injuries after a T-bone collision on N.C. 43 on April 19, according to a weekly review of crashes investigated in Pitt County by the State Highway Patrol.

Hannah Abigail Leneave of Greenville was travelling west on B. Stokes Road near Greenville at 8:05 a.m.…

April 26, 2018

A Greenville man awaiting trail on weapons and drug charges was arrested Wednesday after officers from a special unit of the Greenville Police Department caught him with cocaine, the department reported.

Raheem Jufar Harris, 24, who police say is a known validated Blood gang member, was spotted by…

Raheem Jufar Harris

April 26, 2018

Officers seized more than 750 grams of cocaine bound for Greenville and made two arrests Wednesday that culminated a monthlong trafficking investigation, the Greenville Regional Drug Task Force reported.

Members of the task force conducted a traffic stop in Farmville as a result of the…

042718taskforce

April 26, 2018

During the third day of the Park West stabbing trial, a forensic pathologist testified before jurors that Steven Joseph Rouse, 22, a man with Asperger’s Syndrome, died from three lethal stab wounds to his chest and sustained 14 other stab wounds all over his body.

According to police, Rouse…

042618murdertrial-1.jpg

April 26, 2018

An auto business reported damage to its door and theft of a cash register, according to reports from the Greenville Police Department.

According to Greenville police, an employee filed a report after someone damaged the front door and stole items from the Havoline Express Lube and Auto Spa, located…

April 26, 2018

WILSON — Authorities said a missing Pennsylvania woman made it to the Rocky Mount bus station and purchased a ticket but never got on the bus.

Police continue to investigate the disappearance of 32-year-old Sianeh Togbah Sherman who stayed at a Wilson hotel on April 9. Police said on Tuesday…

042618missingwoman.jpg

April 25, 2018

A man involved in a downtown fight early this morning escaped from two assailants after pulling a knife and stabbing them in the legs, the Greenville Police Department reported.

Police were notified about a fight at Fifth and Reade streets shortly before 1 a.m., the department reported. Additional…

April 25, 2018

During opening statements on Tuesday, prosecutors and defense attorneys offered sharply differing versions of the circumstances that led up to an autistic man being stabbed to death on Oct. 19, 2015. in a field near his home in Greenville.

Michael Anthony O'Neal is on trial for first-degree…

042518murdertrial-1.jpg
282 stories in Crime and Rescue. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 29
        Next Page»   Last Page»