Crystal was born June 7, 1977.  Crystal was adored by all of her family. From the time she was brought home from the hospital, she slept all night. She was the always the best baby.  As a toddler, Crystal showed signs of being very intelligent.  Her mom & dad bought her a little record player when she was about 3 & she would sit & listen to phonic records because she wanted to learn to read. By the age of 5 she could read any book you gave her.  

She was always so quiet & loving.  You would not even know she was around.  Crystal was the most honest & loving person you would ever want to meet. She never raised her voice & anyone that met her loved her.  She was just always the perfect child. 

My mother, Crystal's grandmother, always referred to her "Little Angel". All through school Crystal was an honor student.  She was involved with the church & National Honor society & numerous other clubs.  She took all AG class in school & graduated Valedictorian of her class.  She had an extended family & was loved so dearly.  

She was always there when we were little, like my little sister with her long blonde hair that hung in ringlets & her beautiful blue eyes.  

The man that is accused of her murder is awaiting trial & it has been determined that he does qualify to be tried for capital murder.  I really can't discuss the murder at this point but I will provide all the information when this is all over. I can say that her accused murderer is my niece's boyfriend's brother & she was murdered in her bed.  She had over 30+ wounds. It was a very brutal gruesome murder. 

I had just got off work on August 5, 1999 & went by to check on my mom. I told her I was going to the store to pick up a few things when she got the call from Crystal's Dad.  My mother found me at the store & told me. I have never been so hurt in my life. Then we had to go & tell her mother.  I don't know how any parent could survive hearing that their child has been murdered. 

This murder has devastated so many lives.  She had so many people that loved her so much. She is missed each & every day.  

I will provide more info about this crime when I can.  I want the world to know what this monster did to our little angel.  Her headstone says "LOVED ALL THE WAY TO HEAVEN" & she was. 

Jeri Hanson


Update - 8/5/00 - Killer takes plea bargain to avoid death penalty

Man convicted in brutal stabbing

GREENSBORO -- A year ago today, a 22-year-old woman who has been described as nearly perfect by everyone who knew and loved her, was stabbed 37 times while in her bed.  On Friday, the family of Crystal Lyn Bailey came to a Greensboro courtroom hoping to get some answers to explain the brutal crime. But they didn't get many.

Christopher Lee McDonald, the man charged with Bailey's murder, would not answer the questions that Bailey's family tried to ask him in court. He had told a forensic psychiatrist that he didn't remember what happened that night and told police that a burglar was the killer.  "I'd just like Mr. McDonald to say why he did this. ... She was such a good girl," said Terri Hatley, who is Bailey's mother. She stood in the courtroom near McDonald and said through tears, "I just don't understand."  McDonald sat silently between his attorneys, Ames Chamberlin and Robert McClellan, and did not respond.

The Guilford County District Attorney's office had been seeking the death penalty against McDonald but decided to end the case with a plea bargain instead. McDonald entered an Alford plea to the reduced charge of second-degree murder. This means he is treated as guilty whether or not he admits guilt.  Superior Court Judge W. Osmond Smith III then sentenced McDonald to 26 to 32 years in prison. McDonald, who is now 38, will be at least 64 before he is released from prison.  "It is a good use of the prosecutor's discretion with the facts of this case to take this plea," Smith told Bailey's family. "Sometimes, it is good considering the facts of the case and the uncertainty of trial."

But Bailey's family was not happy with the plea bargain. They wanted McDonald to go to trial on a first-degree murder charge. If convicted, a jury would have sentenced him to life in prison or the death penalty.  "She was stabbed 37 times. She was in bed asleep," Hatley said, while crying. "He should be on trial for first-degree murder."  They described Bailey as an honor student with a sweet personality who never raised her voice or got mad at anyone.

Even Assistant District Attorney Bill Wood said that everyone involved in the case, even McDonald's family, had nothing but kind things to say about Bailey.  "Everyone has said without exception that she is the sweetest child they ever met," Wood said.  Wood said he accepted the plea bargain because of the "circumstantial nature of the case." No one saw what happened in the apartment, and Chris McDonald never admitted the crime to police.  A forensic psychiatrist testified that Chris McDonald suffered from clinical depression, drug addiction, multiple sclerosis and diabetes.  Dr. Nathan Strahl testified that he believes Chris McDonald was either intoxicated or withdrawing from the effects of crack cocaine when he "lost it and went crazy" that night.

Chris McDonald lived with his brother, Cory, and Bailey who was Cory's longtime girlfriend. Cory McDonald recently moved out of their apartment at 1008 Fir Place in Greensboro but Chris McDonald stayed.  Cory McDonald and Bailey had become deeply involved with church, and a minister had advised them not to live together before they were married. So Cory McDonald went home to live with his parents, Wood said.  Greensboro police got a 911 call at the Fir Place apartment about 5 a.m. on Aug. 5, 1999. When they arrived, they found Bailey's body in her bed. Chris McDonald told police that a burglar had entered the home. He told police he tried to grab the butcher knife away from the burglar but was cut, Wood said.  But Wood said DNA evidence showed that the only blood in the house belonged to either Bailey or Chris McDonald. The blood around Bailey's body was dry, yet Chris McDonald told police the crime had just happened. In many other ways, his story did not make sense, Wood said.

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