MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. (AP) - A statement that police described as a confession to three killings may not have been made voluntarily, the suspect's lawyer said Monday.
Defense attorney Angelo MacDonald said after a brief court session that he has been given copies of "purported statements" from suspect Lucius Crawford.
"I have some doubts about the voluntariness of those statements," he said. "That obviously is a very important issue." He would not say why they might not have been voluntary.
A call seeking comment from the Mount Vernon Police Department was referred to the mayor's office, which did not immediately respond.
Police said last week that Crawford, 60, confessed to fatally stabbing three women in Mount Vernon, Yonkers and the Bronx. He has been charged in only the Mount Vernon case, in which police discovered the stabbed body of Tanya Simmons, 41, in Crawford's apartment on Tuesday.
The other killings, also stabbings, happened in 1993. Cold-case detectives had been recently been focusing on Crawford in those killings after a recent DNA match.
Crawford has spent about 30 years in prison for non-fatal stabbings of women in New York and South Carolina going back to the 1970s.
None of the victims was mentioned at Monday's court session and Crawford, shackled hand and foot, did not speak. His lawyer waived his right to a felony hearing, which would have required the prosecution to reveal some of its evidence, and the case was transferred to a Westchester County grand jury.
Outside the courtroom, MacDonald would not say if MacDonald had admitted to any of the killings. He said he had denied some of them, but he wouldn't say which. In an interview on Friday, Crawford admitted the Mount Vernon killing but denied the older killings, The Journal News reported.
MacDonald said Crawford was aware he was being labeled a serial killer, and "it concerns him."
He said Crawford was in protective custody at the Westchester County jail to protect him from other inmates.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)