Crawford drops bail request in husband’s murder

SALT LAKE CITY -- Craig Crawford has dropped his request to be released from jail pending trial on aggravated murder and arson charges in the death of his husband, Utah restaurateur and philanthropist John Williams.

The decision came Thursday after defense attorneys announced prosecutors provided them with massive amounts of evidence in the case.

"We need some time to digest what has been provided. It's very, very critical information. Because of that, judge, we are withdrawing our request at this time for a bail hearing," Crawford's defense attorney, Mark Moffatt, told Third District Court Judge Vernice Trease.

Craig Crawford arrives for a hearing Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016, in Salt Lake City. Attorneys for Crawford accused of setting a house fire that killed his husband, a well-known Salt Lake City restaurateur, have withdrawn their request for a bail hearing. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, Pool)

Craig Crawford arrives for a hearing Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016, in Salt Lake City. Attorneys for Crawford accused of setting a house fire that killed his husband, a well-known Salt Lake City restaurateur, have withdrawn their request for a bail hearing. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, Pool)

Moffatt said they could revisit it later, but would proceed with the case and Crawford would stay in jail without bail pending trial. Outside court, he told reporters that prosecutors handed over three Gigabytes of evidence but declined to say what made them drop the request for bail.

Crawford is facing capital murder and arson charges in the death of his husband, Market Street restaurants owner and renowned philanthropist John Williams. He died in a fire at the couple's posh Salt Lake City home in May. Prosecutors allege Crawford set fire to the home and Williams died in their bedroom -- trapped in the fire.

The couple was in the midst of a divorce.

John Williams (left) and his husband, Craig Crawford.

John Williams (left) and his husband, Craig Crawford.

Salt Lake County prosecutors were fighting Crawford's request to be released from jail. They argued in court papers he had millions at his disposal and was a flight risk. Prosecutors wrote the judge that Crawford recently sold a home in Vancouver, Canada, for $2.3 million. The argued that if Crawford were to be released, bail should be set at $10 million cash.

Williams' family jumped into the case, urging the judge to set bail at $10 million and put Crawford on 24-hour house arrest. In their own filing, they revealed more of a possible motive for the murder case -- arguing Crawford was a danger to the Williams family and the community as a whole.

"For years, Defendant was abusive to John and obsessive about his wealth. He fantasized about John’s finances and about burning John’s home to the ground," Williams family attorneys wrote in court papers obtained by FOX 13. "Defendant also has made threats against John’s family and friends. He has terrorized and frightened those closest to John in Salt Lake, San Francisco, and Canada. In addition, in fits of rage, Defendant has damaged and destroyed John’s property."

Craig Crawford looks on during a hearing Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016, in Salt Lake City. Attorneys for Crawford accused of setting a house fire that killed his husband, a well-known Salt Lake City restaurateur, have withdrawn their request for a bail hearing. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, Pool)

Craig Crawford looks on during a hearing Thursday, Sept. 8, 2016, in Salt Lake City. Attorneys for Crawford accused of setting a house fire that killed his husband, a well-known Salt Lake City restaurateur, have withdrawn their request for a bail hearing. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, Pool)

Outside court, Williams family attorney Clemens Landeau said they did have concerns for their safety.

"They have an interest in the bail hearing, they have an interest in their own safety. They have an interest in the safety of the community and they have an interest in preventing the flight of the defendant," he told reporters.

Prosecutors have not decided if they will seek the death penalty, if Crawford is convicted. He will return to court for a scheduling hearing in October.