Clarence Crothers, 62, was found deceased in his Abbotsford apartment suite on July 4.

Charge laid in murder of Clarence Crothers of Abbotsford

Jeffrey Charles Halicki was a suspect early in investigation, police say

A 50-year-old Abbotsford man has been charged with second-degree murder in relation to the death of Clarence Crothers.

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) announced the charge on Monday morning, saying that Jeffrey Charles Halicki was identified as a suspect early in the investigation.

Crothers, 62, was found deceased July 4 in his suite in the McMath apartment building in the 33000 block of Braun Avenue in Abbotsford.

Police and ambulance personnel were called to the building at about 7:15 a.m. to a “suspicious circumstance” in the building.

They have not elaborated on what precipitated that call.

When they arrived, they discovered Crothers’ body and determined he had sustained injuries “consistent with homicide.”

His cause of death has not been released.

Cpl. Meghan Foster of IHIT said Halicki and Crothers knew one another, but she could not comment on the circumstances or motive leading to Crothers’ death.

Halicki was arrested on Friday, and remains in custody.

Crothers’ family released a statement on Monday, thanking the Abbotsford Police Department and IHIT for their “continued hard work on pursuing justice for Clarence” and for their “dedication and professionalism.”

The family said that Crothers lost his father before he was born but, despite this, he was a “fun-loving and caring father” to his only child, a son.

They said Crothers also suffered a work-related spinal injury – he was a heavy labourer – that left him wheelchair-bound.

“But his heart, smile and personality to speak to anyone and everyone and be one’s advocate was a shining beacon of light that will never leave those that he touched,” they said.

According to the provincial court database, Halicki was sentenced to four years in prison, on top of 18 months already served, for robberies that occurred in Surrey in May and June 2008.

He was convicted the following year of six charges – two counts each of robbery, using an imitation firearm, and robbery using a firearm.

Halicki is also scheduled to go to trial on Dec. 18 in Surrey on an arson charge from April 2016.