A Nanjemoy man received a 20-year sentence Thursday for his role in the 2011 murder of a friend.
Charles County Circuit Court Judge H. James West sentenced Darrayl John Wilson, 28, to 20 years in prison for his part in the conspiracy that led to the murder of Crystal Anderson. Facing charges of first-degree murder, armed robbery and more, Wilson pleaded guilty to the second-degree conspiracy offense in October.
Thursday’s court proceedings were the latest chapter in a saga that has been ongoing since Anderson was initially reported missing in August 2011. She remained as a missing person until Jan. 2, 2012, when a hiker discovered her skeletal remains in the area of Purse State Park in Nanjemoy. She was 29 years old at the time of her death.
The investigation revealed that on the night of July 26, 2011, Anderson, Wilson and co-defendant Raymond Daniel Posey III left a party in Nanjemoy to obtain PCP from Anderson’s supplier in Prince George’s County. Anderson, who used and sold the drug, was promised that there was a potential buyer for the PCP in the Nanjemoy area.
Once they returned to Nanjemoy, Posey robbed Anderson at gunpoint and then shot her multiple times.
He and Wilson threw Anderson’s body over a guardrail and down a steep hill in a remote area of Purse State Park, where it remained until the hiker’s discovery.
A dozen of Crystal’s loved ones turned out for the proceedings. Crystal’s mother shared a piece of writing in court in lieu of a victim impact statement: A first-person retelling of the events of that evening in Crystal’s voice. She recalled a life that wasn’t without its demons, but one that the person living it was actively endeavoring to change for the better.
Before her murder, as the story went, Crystal’s life seemed to be taking a positive turn. Then, suddenly and unexpectedly, her life was over.
“Judge West, that’s the only story I’ve known for eight years,” she said.
Crystal’s father also addressed the court, lamenting that he’d never have the opportunity to walk his first-born down the aisle at her wedding. He implored Wilson to tell them what had happened that night, so that the family might finally have closure: At the advice of his defense attorney, Robert Bonsib, Wilson did not speak in court.
“I will never say I forgive you,” her father told Wilson. “But where you’re going, I hope you’re safe.”
Crystal’s sister recalled her departed sibling as her best friend and constant companion. Her young daughter, born after her aunt’s death, she said, shares a middle name with Crystal. Since her sister’s murder, she said, she has struggled with night terrors and anxiety attacks, as have her parents.
“All I have is just pictures,” the woman said.
Assistant State’s Attorney Jonathan Beattie recalled first hearing Anderson’s name, back when she was still considered a missing person. He recalled “a long, drawn-out process to work through” once her body was discovered, and said that sometimes he wishes he’d never had occasion to hear her name at all.
“When she died, that day just before she was with people she trusted. She was calm, happy,” Beattie said. “She died with people she believed were friends, who left her there to die. There’s no worse fate that anyone could imagine.”
Neither Bonsib nor any of Wilson’s family present in the courtroom spoke on his behalf.
West reflected on how Anderson’s murder affected not just her and her family, but also “people unknown to Ms. Anderson” on both her side and the side of her killers. The “needless” tragedy, he said, had strong reverberations throughout the community. Like her family, West reflected on how Anderson was denied the chance to create for herself a better life.
“She never really had the opportunity to take challenges and turn them into fuel for great success,” West said. “She could have done amazing things. ... All those days are gone.”
Both Anderson and her family deserved better than the fate she was met with, West said.
“If your friends do this to you, what would your enemies do?” West asked, noting they disposed of her body “in a place where people dump trash.”
Like Beattie, West regarded the case as unforgettable.
“There’s no justice here,” West said. “There’s no fairness ... not even closure.”
“You had a strange loyalty to someone who could do this type of thing — someone I don’t think would have the same loyalty to you,” West said to Wilson shortly before administering his sentence.
Posey is serving 60 years in prison for his role in the murder as of October 2017.