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Jury finds Tyler Hurd guilty of first-degree murder in death of Cynthia Crampton
Published Friday, November 10, 2017 1:03PM CST
Last Updated Saturday, November 11, 2017 9:45AM CST
Cynthia Crampton loved pop music. Janet Jackson and Katy Perry songs were played at the 55-year-old’s funeral. Crampton’s sense of humour and her love of music are her daughters’ favourite memories of their mom.
“When she would drive, if a song came on that she liked, she would turn it up full blast and she wouldn’t get out of the car until it was over.,” Crampton’s daughter Shanda Leftley said. “She would stay parked and she would jam out.”
Her daughters, Shanda and Kara Leftely, won't get to enjoy music with their mom, she won’t watch them get married or meet their future children.
Tyler Hurd, 35, killed Crampton by hitting her in the head with a hammer 10 times in the bathroom of her rented Stonebridge basement suite on June 1, 2016. After nearly seven hours of deliberation, a jury found Hurd guilty of first-degree murder in Saskatoon’s Court of Queen’s Bench Thursday evening. He was given the automatic sentence that comes with a first-degree murder conviction: life in prison with no parole eligibility for 25 years. For the jury to convict Hurd of first-degree murder it decided the murder was planned and deliberate.
Shanda said the family is relieved with the verdict but during Kara’s victim impact statement she said justice can’t bring her total peace of mind. Kara found her mother’s dead body and said the memory haunts her.
“This man decided that my mom was a bad person based on the mere 10 months he knew her,” Shanda told reporters outside court after the verdict. “And for that reason he decided to play God and kill a woman with a mental illness who had battled for years.”
Shanda said Crampton struggled with depression and mania and that during Crampton’s worst, and final, year of her life she befriended bad people who were involved in drugs. During the four-day trial, court heard Crampton let Hurd and his girlfriend Tammy Poffley stay in her small basement suite because they were homeless.
Hurd told police Crampton was a bad person who sold painkillers to Poffley. He told police he decided he would kill Crampton after she tried to manipulate him into having sex with her.
Crampton's daughters said they want their mother to be remembered for who she really was: a funny, deeply caring woman who was strong and a dedicated mother. Shanda remembers a period when Crampton worked three jobs to support the family, pay the mortgage and ensure her daughters could play sports. Before her death Crampton worked at a lottery ticket kiosk and did bookkeeping on the side. She wanted to better her life and was looking for a new job, according Shanda. In the hours before she died, Shanda helped Crampton update her resume in hopes of getting fulltime work at a drug store.
“When you look at her life you can see that she was a good person and you can see that she was fighting to leave that bad year behind her,” Shanda said. “A senseless, sick excuse of man took that from her and took that from our family.”
The jury watched a three-hour interview between police and Hurd in which he casually and graphically detailed the gruesome murder of Crampton.
“I’m about to frickin’ crack somebody’s skull open and follow through with cold-blooded, premeditated murder,” Hurd told police in the interview.
He said he hit her with a hammer, tried strangling her and that the killing took about 30 minutes. A hammer, towel rod and pieces of a purse strap were found next to her body.
Hurd told police he planned the killing nearly two days prior and police found a wooden deck board with a note on it detailing a plan to kill Crampton. Hurd said he stole Crampton’s belongings, money and car, and slept in her home while the body was still in the bathroom. He said he waited to kill Crampton after she received her pay cheque so he could steal the money.
The jury heard how Hurd’s life changed after his wife — also named Tammy — died from cancer in 2010. Hurd said he lost his house, job and children, and started using hard drugs including meth and painkillers.
He explained he has a history of mental illness — bipolar, manic depression and suicide attempts. Hurd called himself a “sick puppy” and said he’s had dark thoughts since he was a teen.
“That even scares me sometimes — thinking about how systemically I could do and talk about this stuff so easily,” Hurd said in the police interview. “I know that’s not normal.”
During the interview he said the killing didn’t “faze” him and he didn’t regret it.
After Hurd was sentenced he turned to Crampton’s family and apologized. He called himself a “deranged psychopath” and told them not to hold onto the hate they have for him.
“It is a sick, disgusting thing I did. I admit that,” he said.
In victim impact statements Crampton’s daughters had harsh words for Hurd – they called him a monster, wished him misery and said he’s ruined multiple lives including those of his own children. Shanda said she didn’t believe the apology.
“I don't think anything he has to say is sincere,” Shanda said.