BEAUFORT, SC (May 24, 2018) – A cold case that went unsolved for nearly four decades was closed Thursday when a jury convicted a Beaufort man of the 1980 murder of 18-year-old David Krulewicz, and the rape, kidnapping and armed robbery of his 15-year-old girlfriend.
Isaiah Gadson, 66, was found guilty by a Beaufort County jury. He was sentenced to 50 years for the murder and 30 years each for criminal sexual conduct, armed robbery and kidnapping, to be served concurrently.
“Two families endured not only the pain of these heinous crimes, but more than 35 years knowing the man who did this was probably still out there, possibly still roaming free,” said Hunter Swanson of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, who prosecuted the case. “I hope the verdict brings peace to the many people who have suffered as a result of these crimes.
“Today, justice and technology caught up with Isiah Gadson.”
Swanson leads the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office Special Victims Unit, which prosecutes crimes against vulnerable populations, such as criminal sexual conduct, domestic violence and child abuse.
Krulewicz and his girlfriend were on a date the evening of Jan. 5, 1980. They were parked in his van on Old Salem Road, which at the time was a dirt road in a secluded area of northern Beaufort County. At about 11:45 p.m. – 15 minutes before Krulewicz’s girlfriend was supposed to be home for her curfew – Gadson approached the van and shot Krulewicz three times through the passenger-side window.
Krulewicz’s girlfriend pleaded for her life as Gadson held a gun to her head and took $50 from her. Gadson then made her lay down on the ground in front of the van and raped her.
Beaufort County law enforcement pursued several leads in the early 1980s but made no arrests. Gadson lived in the Burton area at that time but was never a suspect.
In the late 1990s, Capt. Bob Bromage, submitted articles of the victims’ clothing to the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division for DNA testing. The agency developed a profile from the semen found on the rape victim’s pants and underwear. As DNA profiling techniques improved, tests were repeated in the early 2000. The results were submitted to an FBI database.
A match came in 2016, when Gadson submitted DNA after his arrest for an unrelated violent crime in Beaufort.
In fact, Gadson had been in prison before and has a criminal history that includes arrests for drug and gun violations, domestic-violence, and assault and battery. He was charged with the sexual assault of a Beaufort woman in 1983 and eventually pleaded no contest to assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature. The victim in that case, who now lives in Virginia, testified in this week’s trial, revealing several similarities between the attack on her and the attack on Krulewicz’s girlfriend.
Many of the witnesses and investigators who initially worked on Krulewicz’s murder case died in the intervening years. However, several forensics and DNA experts testified for the prosecution. So did Gerry Wagner, who led the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office investigation in the 1980s and is now retired and living in Alabama.
Circuit Court Judge Brooks P. Goldsmith handed down Thursday’s sentence.