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Robert Cromwell

Arizona Death Row

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Robert Cromwell

Robert Cromwell

Police Photo
October 8, 2001 Phoenix Police Department received a 911 call from a hysterical female stating she was trying to locate her daughter who was taken by a man who had beaten her. The female (later identified as Ella "Michelle" Speaks) told the dispatcher she was beaten with a stick by a man at her home located at 3208 E. Flower Street and that she believed this man ran off with her daughter. Shortly there after the Phoenix Police Department dispatch received a second 911 call from a Hispanic male who said he heard someone yelling for help and that they thought there was a dead baby at 3208 E. Flower Street, Apartment #205.

During the investigation it was determined that through a one time meeting, spending the evening together drinking and doing drugs Ella "Michelle" Speaks left Robert Cromwell at her residence with her three daughters while she left for a few minutes to pickup another friend, Kim Jensen.

When Michelle and Kim returned home they were greeted at the door by Robert Cromwell who struck Kim Jensen with a pool stick as she stepped into the apartment doorway. Michelle Speaks attempted to stop Cromwell, but when Kim was stuck in the head and fell to the floor he turned on Speaks and began hitting her until the pool stick broke. Cromwell then ran from the residence.

Michelle Speaks, who was shaken up over the incident, took off in her vehicle after Cromwell as she believed he had taken her daughter, Stephanie Short. While driving to Cromwell's residence Speaks called 911 to report the incident.

The police made contact with Speaks and returned with her to her residence. Upon searching the residence her home they found the body of her 11-year-old daughter, Stephanie Short, in the master bedroom, unclothed and severely injured. Stephanie Short had 13 stab wounds to her back, a fractured skull and broken jaw and had appeared to have been sexually assaulted. Stephanie was transported to the Good Samaritan Hospital where she was pronounced dead. Cause of death was determined to be multiple blunt force and stabbing injuries.

Robert Cromwell was interviewed and subsequently arrested and found guilty of murdering Stephanie Short.

Source: Arizona Department of Corrections

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