August 4, 1961 |
Bristol, Pennsylvania, United States
|Criminal status||Incarcerated at Union Correctional Institution, Raiford, Florida|
|Conviction(s)||First-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, attempted sexual battery, kidnapping|
Eddie James (born on August 4, 1961) is an American murderer and sex offender. His appearance on the national television show America's Most Wanted led to his capture and conviction for the killings of an 8-year-old girl and her grandmother in September 1993.
James believed his last name was Matlack until the age of 10, when he discovered that the man raising him was his stepfather. At 11, James met and went to live with his biological father, who introduced him to drugs. Ironically, his father was a drug counselor. In his mid teens, James returned to live with his mother in Casselberry, Florida. His life now revolved around fighting and drugs, and he claimed to be having blackouts. His mother sought assistance from a mental health counselor; however, his violence and anger continued.
James dropped out of high school in his junior year and joined the army when he was 17. He was stationed in Germany but was soon discharged for "failure to conform". James returned to Casselberry, where he became friends with a man named Tim Dick. James was welcomed into Dick's extended family, and, in the summer of 1993, he rented a room from Dick's mother, Betty.
On September 20, 1993, James returned home from a party to find Betty Dick's four grandchildren sleeping in the living room.  He grabbed 8-year-old Toni Neuner by the neck and choked her, then took her to his bedroom and raped her, after which he put her body between his bed and the wall.
James proceeded to Dick's bedroom, where he hit her in the head with a candlestick and repeatedly stabbed her with a knife. Dick screamed, waking up Toni's sister, Wendi, who came to the bedroom. James tied her up and put her in the bathroom. He got a butcher knife from the kitchen and returned to Dick's bedroom, sticking the knife in her back. After showering and taking jewelry from Dick's bedroom, James fled in her car.
Apprehension and sentencing
On September 28, 1993, America's Most Wanted (AMW) broadcast information related to the case, resulting in hundreds of viewer phone calls. Several tips indicated that he was traveling west. On October 5, 1993, AMW rebroadcast the details of the case, including this updated information. The next day, a viewer spotted James at the California state unemployment office in Bakersfield and contacted authorities. Once in police custody, he gave two taped statements.
On April 5, 1995, James pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, and one count each of aggravated child abuse, attempted sexual battery, kidnapping, grand theft and grand theft auto. He also pleaded no contest to two counts of capital sexual battery charged by separate information.
On August 18, 1995, James was sentenced to death for the murders of Toni Neuner and Betty Dick, as well sentences ranging from 15 years to life on the other charges. He is incarcerated at Union Correctional Institution in Raiford, Florida.
- Walsh, p. 4
- Walsh, pp. 4-5 "And here's the sick irony: Eddie's dad was a drug counselor. 'He made a joke out of how he was a drug counselor and he did more drugs than the people he was counseling,' Eddie remembered."
- Walsh, pp. 5-6
- Walsh, p. 6
- Walsh, p. 7
- Edward James vs. State of Florida, p. 3
- Edward James vs. State of Florida, pp. 4-5
- Edward James vs. State of Florida, p. 5
- Edward James vs. State of Florida, p. 5 "Appellant turned around and saw Wendi at which point he grabbed her, tied her up, and placed her in the bathroom. Wendi asked Appellant if he was going to hurt her brothers, and Appellant told her, 'NO, I'm not going to hurt your brother or I'm not going to hurt you. You've been through enough pain.'"
- Edward James vs. State of Florida, p. 6
- Edward James vs. State of Florida, p. 1
- Edward James vs. State of Florida, p. 2
- "Edward James, Petitioner, vs. State of Florida, Respondent." (PDF). Florida State University College of Law Library. Retrieved 2008-10-11.
- Walsh, John; Lerman, Philip (1998). "The Demon Within". No Mercy: The Host of America's Most Wanted Hunts the Worst Criminals of Our Time--In Shattering True Crime Cases. Pocket Books. ISBN 978-0-671-01993-8. Archived from the original on 2008-10-11. Retrieved 2008-10-11.