Man accused of ex-wife's murder faces judge

Adrian Seward accused accused of killing recently divorced wife

Author: Erica Rakow, General assignment reporter, erakow@wjxt.com
Published On: Jul 29 2013 05:51:08 AM EDT   Updated On: Jul 29 2013 05:52:14 PM EDT
CLAY COUNTY, Fla. -

An Oakleaf Plantation man accused of killing his ex-wife on Thursday night faced a Clay County judge Monday morning on a charge of second-degree murder and was ordered held without bond.

During a brief court appearance, Adrian Seward was asked if he had money to hire a private attorney. Seward said he hasn't contacted his family, so Judge Timothy Collins appointed a public defender for for now and set Seward's next court date for Sept. 4.

Seward (pictured below in Clay County Sheriff's Office booking photo) entered the courtroom wearing a black gown with his hands and feet shackled. Other inmates were in green and white striped jumpsuits.

Seward, 44, was arrested Sunday morning by a U.S. Marshals Service task force at a hotel on Jacksonville's Southside.

Investigators say they're trying to retrace Seward's steps, and said it's unclear if people were helping him while he was on the run. They're also still trying to piece together exactly what lead up to this deadly shooting.

After nearly three days on the run, Seward was arrested at the Extended Stay America near J. Turner Butler Boulevard and Interstate 95.

"Just looked around and I saw that they had machine guns, and they were running after somebody," said Lauwereins, who witnessed the capture.

Deputies said Seward shot and killed 33-year-old Lashawna Criswell-Seward Thursday night, just four days after court records show the couple's divorce was finalized.

"We definitely miss Shawna and we feel bad for her and her family. But I'm glad that it's closed," said neighbor Mike Gray.

Neighbors said the woman was moving things out of their old home when the couple began arguing. She ran to the next door neighbor's house for help, and that's when deputies say Seward shot her, then drove away.

Seward wasn't seen again until Sunday morning.

"Surrounded the whole area, probably 20 cop cars just in the area. They had the very front entrance blocked off in front of the building," said Lauwereins.

Investigators are also looking into whether or not someone helped Adrian Seward hide out. If so, that person would also face prosecution.

"Most likely somebody will be facing an accessory after the fact charge, which will be a second-degree felony," said attorney Gene Nichols.

Col. Craig Aldrich, of the Clay County Sheriff's Office, said the U.S. Marshals Service was a great help in arresting Seward.

"Without them, I can't imagine us doing what they do," he said. "I don't think we are capable of doing what they do on a daily basis."

"It's like looking for a needle in a haystack. They have the capability and tech and resources to go find those bad guys no matter where they go."

Aldrich said U.S. Marshals don't get the credit they deserve because most of their work is behind the scenes and kept confidential due to the dangerous situations they are put in. He said U.S. marshals make about 400 arrests per year in this area, and that Clay County calls on them as many as four times a week.

"We don't have to muster a task force to go search for that individual on a local level," Aldrich said. "We can reach out to the Marshal's Office. They have those capabilities in place, and with a phone call or two, they've got a team ready to go sitting on a bad guy's house, business, airport."