Edward Edwards (serial killer)
FBI Ten Most Wanted mugshot
June 14, 1933
Akron, Ohio, U.S.
April 7, 2011 (aged 77)|
Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
Span of crimes
Edward Wayne Edwards (born Charles Murray, June 14, 1933 – April 7, 2011) was a convicted American serial killer. Edwards escaped from jail in Akron, Ohio in 1955 when he pushed past a guard and fled across the country, holding up gas stations for money. In 1961, he landed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. He eventually was captured and arrested in Atlanta, Georgia on January 20, 1962. He was paroled in 1967 and between 1977 and 1996 he murdered at least five people. He is suspected of several additional killings. Several theories have connected Edwards to a variety of crimes including that he is the Zodiac Killer or that he was the Golden State Killer.
Edwards was born in Akron, Ohio; he grew up primarily as an orphan after witnessing the suicide of his mother. In his autobiography, Edwards claimed that he was abused both physically and emotionally in an orphanage, which contributed to his criminal behavior. He was allowed to get out of juvenile detention to join the U.S. Marines, went AWOL, and was subsequently dishonorably discharged. Then he returned to his criminal lifestyle. He traveled frequently during his 20s and 30s doing odd jobs, such as working as a ship docker, vacuum retailer[clarification needed] and handyman. He lived most of his life, when not incarcerated, in Louisville, Kentucky.
In 1955, Edwards escaped from a jail in Akron and drifted around the country, robbing gas stations when he needed money. He wrote that he never disguised his appearance during crimes because he wanted to be famous. His name was placed on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list in 1961. He was eventually imprisoned in Leavenworth, from which he was paroled in 1967. He claimed that as the result of the influence of a benevolent guard at Leavenworth, he reformed and married, and became a motivational speaker on the subject of his reform.
Edwards appeared on two television shows, To Tell the Truth (1972) and What's My Line? He wrote an autobiography titled The Metamorphosis of a Criminal: The True Life Story of Ed Edwards in 1972; but by 1982 he had returned to crime, and was imprisoned in Pennsylvania for two years for arson.
The first murders for which Edwards was convicted, of Billy Lavaco and Judy Straub, a double murder, took place in Ohio in 1977. He received life sentences for these crimes in 2010.
The second pair of murders were of Tim Hack and Kelly Drew, another double homicide, in Wisconsin, in 1980. These were referred to as the "Sweetheart Murders." Edwards had been questioned at the time, but there was no basis to hold him. Almost 29 years later, his connection to the crime was established by means of DNA testing. Edwards' own child, April Balascio, tipped off police about his possible involvement.
Lastly, Edwards confessed to the 1996 murder of Dannie Boy Edwards in Ohio. The victim was referred to as an adopted child who had lived with Edwards and his wife for several years. The adoption was never allowed per a judge in Ohio, but did allow Danny Boy to change his last name to Edwards. Dannie's original name was Dannie Law Gloeckner. Edwards murdered Dannie Boy in a scheme to collect insurance money. Edwards was sentenced to death for this crime in March 2011, but died in prison of natural causes a month later.
Other possible murders
According to Phil Stanford in his book The Peyton-Allan Files, Edwards may have been responsible for the murders of Beverly Allan and Larry Peyton in Portland, Oregon, in 1960. Two men were arrested and imprisoned for these murders, but released from prison early. Authorities maintain that the correct persons were prosecuted.
Some investigators have noted that Edwards lived in northern California during each of the Zodiac Killer's murders in the late 1960s and would have, at the time, closely matched the Zodiac's description, although others dispute that claim. Edwards never wore glasses and was thicker set than the description to the police.
In March 2017, Detective Chad Garcia of the Jefferson County (Wisconsin) Sheriff's Office who was in charge of the "Sweetheart Murders" case described how the murders of Hack and Drew were solved following a tip off from Edwards' daughter. Garcia said he was "pretty confident" there are at least five to seven more murders Edwards committed and "who knows beyond that." He gave a list of 15 confirmed and suspected victims, adding that he was less sure Edwards was involved in the Zodiac killings.
In 2014, Golden Door Press published It's Me, Edward Wayne Edwards, the Serial Killer You Never Heard Of, by former police detective and cold-case investigator John A. Cameron.
On November 10, 2016 Deadline Hollywood announced that Spike TV had ordered a six-part documentary series called It Was Him: The Many Murders of Ed Edwards, following Edwards' grandson Wayne Wolfe and John A. Cameron as they investigate Edwards' potential connections to multiple unsolved murders, including Black Dahlia, JonBenét Ramsey, Laci Peterson, and others. In March 2018, it was announced that the documentary would premiere on April 16, 2018.
On January 15, 2018 Investigation Discovery broadcast a documentary called People Magazine Investigates - My Father, the Serial Killer which tells the story of how Edwards' daughter realized her father had committed the so-called "Sweetheart Murders" and tipped off authorities leading to Ed Edwards' arrest and conviction. The daughter told People Edwards had a dark side, verbally and physically abusing her mother Kay, making the children watch videos about the Zodiac Killer while screaming, “that’s not how it happened.”
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- Sangiacomo, Michael (8 April 2011). "Convicted serial killer Edward Edwards dies in prison, avoiding execution". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
- "IT'S ME, Edward Wayne Edwards, the Serial Killer You Never Heard Of". GoodReads. 14 January 2014. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
- Andreeva, Nellie (10 November 2016). "Spike Orders Ed Edwards Docu Series As Part Of New 'Spike Serialized' Franchise". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
- "Was One Man Responsible for Killing JonBenét, Black Dahlia & More? New Documentary Says It's Possible". PEOPLE.com. Retrieved 2018-03-24.
- "Hack-Drew case on A&E tonight". Daily Jefferson County Union. 16 March 2017. Retrieved 27 September 2017.
- "Investigation Discovery, People Magazine Investigates - My Father the Serial Killer"
- "Daughter recalls serial-killer father in People magazine". Daily Jefferson County Union. 14 January 2018. Retrieved 16 January 2018.