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Suspect in Oakleaf killing appears in court; vigil tonight for victim

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Updated: 7/29/2013 6:38 pm
CLAY COUNTY, Fla.-- As Adrian Seward slowly walked towards the judge's stand, his fate was read out loud to him.

"Mr. Seward, you've been charged with murder. Judge Lester has already determined there is probable cause. He set a no-bond on your case," said Judge Timothy R. Collins.

Seward appeared before Judge Collins in shackles and a jumpsuit. He was arrested Sunday at the Extended Stay America Hotel in Jacksonville.  Police say he was on the run for three days.

The U.S. Marshals, their Fugitive Apprehension Strike Team and JSO all played a part in capturing him.

"We were thrilled. We just shouted out and praised God for it because he's captured. With that being said, we can sleep a little bit better," Kenisha Mitchell, a friend of the victim, said.

According to investigators, Seward gunned down his ex-wife, Lashawna Criswell-Seward, last Thursday night in their neighborhood in Oakleaf. The killing came days after their divorce was finalized.

In new documents released by the Clay County Sheriff's Office, the fight between the couple started in the master bedroom of their home.  Investigators found divorce and child support documents strewn all over the bedroom.  Their home had been put up for sale a month ago and a PODS storage container sat out front.

The affidavit for arrest warrant indicates Criswell-Seward ran to a neighbor's house for help.  Monica Griffin told detectives she heard the victim outside her door screaming "Help me! Help me!"  Lee Griffin ran to the door and heard the victim ask about her daughter, followed by the sound of two to four gunshots.  Griffin opened the door and found Criswell-Seward dead at his doorstep with at least one gunshot wound to her head and face, and her purse and keys lying next to her.

Seward told the judge he has to talk with his family to determine whether he will be able to afford an attorney. For now, he has been appointed a public defender. His next court date is set for Sept. 4 at 9 a.m.

Seward has a criminal history dating back to 1986 when police arrested him for grand theft of a motor vehicle.  He went to prison in 1987 for attempted second-degree murder, shooting/throwing missiles into a building, threatening to use any firearm.  He went back to prison for aggravated assault with a weapon in 1996.  He was released in 2005.

A candlelight vigil in memory of Lashawna Criswell-Seward will be held Monday night at 9. People are asked to meet in the Whitfield subdivision in the cul-de-sac of Pondview Drive.
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