There seemed to be a curse on the Cranetown Apartments, in Montclair, New Jersey -- more specifically upon Apartment 31. In November 1981, tenant Lillian Harris, 83, died of an apparent heart attack while her apartment was being burglarized. Seventeen months later, on April 18, 1983, 51-year-old Joan Leight died under identical circumstances, at the same address. Her replacement as tenant in Apartment 31, 68-year-old Sarah McHale, was found dead in her living room September 2, smothered with a pillow. Police spokesmen made veiled references to "similarities" in the three deaths, refusing to offer more details for fear of jeopardizing their investigation. On April 11, 1985, authorities in Essex County arrested 30-year-old Jerry Spraggins, a mechanic and dispatcher for a local taxi service, on charges of murdering Sarah McHale and Joan Leight. Also considered a prime suspect in the death of Lillian Harris, Spraggins escaped charges in that case through lack of conclusive evidence . Twice charged with criminal trespass and sexual assault at another Montclair apartment complex, in December 1984, the suspect had escaped with a $600 fine and two years probation after the judge suspended an 11-month jail term. Additional charges in the Cranetown Apartment cases included burglary, theft, and sexual assault. Spraggins was ultimately convicted in the death of Sarah McHale, sentenced to a term of 30 years in prison. While the other crimes remain officially unsolved, Montclair authorities maintain a firm conviction of their suspect's guilt across the board. It is worth noting that the "Cranetown curse" was lifted when he went to jail.