A teenager whose body was found in Newport News two weeks after she disappeared in early September was killed in order to block her from testifying in a Norfolk sexual assault case, court documents allege.
In late September, months after accusing a man of sodomy and attempted rape, Virginia 17-year-old Asia Cowell turned up dead in the woods. Now, authorities have filed murder charges against three people — and one them is the sister of the man Cowell accused.
PEOPLE confirms that Crystal Albritton, 30, and Dazha Feaster, 18, were arrested Wednesday for their alleged roles in Cowell’s slaying. A third person — Devin Aris Albritton, 38 — was detained late Thursday, according to Newport News Police.
Cowell was reported missing on Sept. 7, the day authorities allege she was killed. Her body wouldn’t be found until the morning of Sept. 22, when it was discovered in a wooded area behind a strip club.
Crystal Albritton and Feaster — who is the sister of the man Cowell accused of sexual assault — are both charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, abduction and using a gun in a felony, PEOPLE learns.
Crystal faces an additional charge of criminal solicitation. Devin Albritton, PEOPLE confirms, was charged with single counts of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit a felony.
Cowell had accused Desean Corum, 30, of attempted rape in early May, resulting in charges of attempted rape, sodomy, attempted sodomy, strangling, and abduction with the intent to defile.
The charges against Corum were dropped a week after Cowell’s body was found.
The Daily Press obtained copies of the criminal complaints against the two women, which allege that Cowell was killed in an elaborate plot to keep her from taking the witness stand.
In the complaints, police allege Crystal Albritton and Feaster lured Cowell to a Norfolk home on Sept. 7, after hiring her to do some hair braiding work. Instead, the three suspects allegedly subdued her before forcing her into a car and driving her — at gunpoint — to Newport News.
The complaints allege Cowell was walked deep into the woods. Feaster allegedly told police Crystal Albritton “eventually told Asia Cowell to stop.” Polie say Crystal Albritton then directed Feaster to shoot her, the complaints allege.
Feaster allegedly told detectives she couldn’t do it, according to the complaints. “After attempting to convince Dazha Feaster to hurry up, Crystal Albritton took the gun … and shot Asia Crowell herself,” the complaints allege.
Devin Albritton allegedly told investigators he wasn’t present for the killing, but acknowledged disposing of Cowell’s cell phone and personal effects, the complaints state.
He also allegedly disposed of the murder weapon, according to the complaints.
All three defendants remain in police custody, and it was unclear Friday if any of them had entered pleas to the charges they face. Information about their lawyers – if they have them yet – was unavailable.
Corum also could not be reached for comment Friday.
This is absolutely terrible to hear, throw them up under the jail, condolences to this young queen’s family.