Minor appears in court charged as adult in Stratford man’s murder
A 17-year-old from Ansonia, who police say fled the state after the murder of a Stratford man, appeared in Milford Superior Court for the first time charged as an adult. Monteral Crews is accused of killing Johnny Class, 20, on April 5. Class was shot in the middle of the day while sitting in a friend’s car in Ansonia. Crews's arrest warrant alleges Class's friend drove to Hubbell Avenue to sell Crews some marijuana, but it turned into an attempted robbery with Crews firing into the car and hitting Class, who wasn't part of the deal. During the police investigation, that friend picked Crews as the shooter from a photo line-up, according to the warrant.
Defense attorney Martin Minnella said in court he is still waiting to see all the evidence. Minnella told News 12 he’s planning a “vigorous defense.”
“We feel like my client is being unfairly prosecuted based on a warrant that’s all hearsay,” Minnella said. “He’s a good kid. I think the police investigation from what I see was faulty, but again, they haven’t given me everything.”
But police have surveillance footage showing Crews and two others walking toward the area before the shooting, then running away after, according to the warrant. GPS data from his cellphone also allegedly puts Crews there. Police said a search of his cousin's apartment turned up masks like what was worn by the shooter and two men with him.
About 20 of Class's loved ones showed up for the hearing with many wearing shirts with his picture on them. They didn't want to comment, but his mom previously spoke with News 12 about her son. In an interview in April, Erica Ortiz said Class loved kids and making people laugh. “If you were sad in any way, he would sit there and cheer you up. He didn’t care if he knew you for five seconds or for five years,” Ortiz said.
Crews had his own family support in the courtroom. There was a chorus of “I love yous” from them when the proceeding ended, and Crews turned to leave the courtroom.
He's charged with murder, felony murder, criminal attempt at robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, and carrying a pistol without a permit. Crews is being held on a $1.5 million bond. Minnella told News 12 he plans to file a motion to reduce bond and get him out of jail.
Crews was arrested in North Carolina in May by the United States Marshals Service Fugitive Task Force.