Edward Edwards (serial killer)

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Edward Edwards
FBI Ten Most Wanted mugshot
Born Edward Wayne Edwards
June 14, 1933
Akron, Ohio, U.S.
Died April 7, 2011(2011-04-07) (aged 77)
Columbus, Ohio, U.S.
Criminal penalty Death
Victims 5+
Span of killings
Country United States
State(s) Wisconsin, Ohio
Date apprehended

Edward Wayne Edwards (June 14, 1933 – April 7, 2011) was a convicted American serial killer. Edwards escaped from jail in Akron, Ohio in 1955 by pushing 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. Paroled in 1967, between 1977 and 1996 he murdered at least 5 people and is suspected in many other killings as well.


Edwards was born in Akron, Ohio;[1][2] 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.[2][3] He was allowed to get out of juvenile detention to join the U.S. Marines, went AWOL, and was subsequently dishonorably discharged.[1] 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.[2][3] He wrote that he never disguised his appearance during crimes because he wanted to be famous.[3] His name was placed on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list in 1961.[2][3] 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.[3]

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.[3]

Known murders[edit]

Edwards is known to have murdered five people, two in Ohio in 1977, two in Wisconsin in 1980, and one in Ohio in 1996.

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.[4]

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.[3][5] Apparently, Edwards' own child tipped off police about his possible involvement.[2][6]

Lastly Edwards confessed to the 1996 murder of Danny Boy Edwards in Ohio. The victim was referred to as an adopted child who had lived with Edwards and his wife for several years. Danny's original name was Danny Law Gloeckner.[6] Edwards murdered Danny Boy in a scheme to collect insurance money. He was sentenced to death for this crime in March 2011, but died in prison of natural causes a month later.[4]

Other possible murders[edit]

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.[7] Two men were arrested and imprisoned for these murders, but released from prison early. Authorities maintain that the correct persons were prosecuted.[6]

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.[8]

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.[9]


Edwards died of natural causes at the Corrections Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio on April 7, 2011.[10][11][12]

In media[edit]

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 expert John A. Cameron.[13] The book details the murders Edwards was convicted of and provides analysis and argument of other murders for which Edwards was never caught.

On November 10, 2016 Deadline announced that Spike TV had ordered a six-part documentary series called It Was Him, following Edwards' grandson Wayne Wolfe and John A. Cameron as they investigate Edwards' potential connections to multiple unsolved murders.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Edward Wayne Edwards: A timeline of his life". Madison.com. June 9, 2010. Retrieved January 22, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Edward Edwards, convicted killer of 5, dies of natural causes in Ohio prison". Wisconsin State Journal. April 8, 2011. Retrieved April 9, 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Andreadis, Cleopatra (June 10, 2010). "Elderly Conman Confesses He Killed 4 During Career as Motivational Speaker". ABC News. Retrieved January 22, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b "US serial killer Edward Edwards, 77, pleads for death". news.com.au. March 9, 2011. Retrieved April 9, 2012. 
  5. ^ English, Lindsay (July 31, 2009). "Louisville man arrested in Wisconsin cold case double murder". WAVE. Retrieved January 22, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c Whisner, Ryan (April 8, 2011). "UPDATE: Hack-Drew murderer dead of natural causes". Daily Union. Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. Retrieved January 22, 2016. 
  7. ^ Redden, Jim (October 27, 2010). "After 50 years, murders still a mystery". Portland Tribune. Retrieved January 22, 2016. 
  8. ^ John, Finn J.D. (May 14, 2013). "Did Oregon Miss The Chance To Stop A Serial Killer?". News-Register. Retrieved January 22, 2016. 
  9. ^ Zoellner, Alexa (March 16, 2017). "Hack-Drew case on A&E tonight". Daily Jefferson County Union. Retrieved March 21, 2017. 
  10. ^ Gazaway, Charles (April 8, 2011). "Confessed serial killer dies in prison". WAVE. Retrieved January 22, 2016. 
  11. ^ Brueck, Dana (April 8, 2011). "UPDATE: Edward Edwards Dead". nbc15.com. WMTV. Retrieved January 22, 2016. 
  12. ^ Sangiacomo, Michael (April 8, 2011). "Convicted serial killer Edward Edwards dies in prison, avoiding execution". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved January 22, 2016. 
  13. ^ "IT'S ME, Edward Wayne Edwards, the Serial Killer You Never Heard Of". Good Reads. January 14, 2014. Retrieved November 10, 2016. 
  14. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (November 10, 2016). "Spike Orders Ed Edwards Docu Series As Part Of New 'Spike Serialized' Franchise". Deadline. Retrieved November 10, 2016.