Edward Edwards (serial killer)

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Edward Edwards
FBI Ten Most Wanted mugshot
BornJune 14, 1933
DiedApril 7, 2011(2011-04-07) (aged 77)
Parent(s)Mother Lillian Cecelia Myers, Father: unknown?
Criminal penaltyDeath
Victims5 known
Span of crimes
CountryUnited States
Date apprehended

Edward Wayne Edwards (born Charles Murray; June 14, 1933 – April 7, 2011)[1] 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. By 1961, he had landed on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list.

Edwards was captured and arrested in Atlanta, Georgia on January 20, 1962. After he was granted parole in 1967, Edwards murdered at least five people between 1977 and 1996, and is suspected of several additional killings.


In his autobiography, Edwards claimed he was born Charles Murray, in Akron, Ohio;[2][3] in 1933, and that he grew up primarily as an orphan after witnessing the suicide of his mother, Lillian Cecelia Myers (born April 1, 1911). He also claimed that he was abused both physically and emotionally in an orphanage, which contributed to his criminal behavior.[3][4]

He was allowed to get out of juvenile detention to join the U.S. Marines, went AWOL, and was subsequently dishonorably discharged.[2] He traveled frequently during his 20s and 30s, performing assorted jobs such as working as a ship docker, vacuum retailer and handyman.

In 1955, Edwards escaped from a jail in Akron and drifted around the country, robbing gas stations when he needed money.[3][4] He wrote that he never disguised his appearance during crimes because he wanted to be famous.[4] His name was placed on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list in 1961.[3][4] He was 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 was reformed. He married and became a motivational speaker on the subject of his reform.[4]

Edwards appeared on two television shows, To Tell the Truth (1972) and What's My Line? He wrote an autobiography, The Metamorphosis of a Criminal: The True Life Story of Ed Edwards, in 1972. By 1982 he had returned to crime, and was imprisoned in Pennsylvania for two years for arson.[4]

Between 1974 and 2009, Edwards lived in more than a dozen different States when not incarcerated, according to his daughter April, using many false names.[5]

In a letter dated July 9, 1993 to the FBI found in Edwards' papers, Edwards requested his criminal and history records for cities in 19 States, claimed that J. Edgar Hoover "more or less gave me permission to proceed" with his 1972 autobiography "after I assured him there was nothing in it bad about the FBI" and he was writing a new book about criminals he met while incarcerated, such as Tony Provezano, Charles Manson and Jimmy Hoffa.[6]

Arrest and conviction[edit]

On July 31, 2009, Edwards was arrested on murder charges at his mobile home in Louisville, Kentucky. Neighbors described him as "a real soft, pleasant guy" and "neighborly".[7] On June 10, 2010 he pleaded guilty to the murders of Billy Lavaco, 21, of Doylestown, Judith Straub, 18, of Sterling, Ohio, Tim Hack, 19, and Kelly Drew, 19, both of Jefferson, Wisconsin.[8]

On June 17, in a jailhouse interview with the Associated Press, he confessed to the murder of Dannie Law Gloeckner, 25.[9][10] On March 8, 2011, he was sentenced to death for the murder of Gloeckner.[11]

Known murders[edit]

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

The first murders for which Edwards was convicted, of Billy Lavaco and Judy Straub, took place in Ohio in 1977. He received life sentences for these crimes in 2010.[12]

The second pair of murders, another double homicide, occurred in Watertown, Wisconsin in 1980 when Tim Hack and Kelly Drew were stabbed and strangled. 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.[4][13] Edwards' own child, April Balascio, tipped off police about his possible involvement.[3][14]

Edwards confessed to the 1996 murder of 25-year-old Dannie Boy Edwards in Burton, Ohio. The victim had lived with Edwards and his family for several years as an unofficial adopted son. Dannie's original name was Dannie Law Gloeckner.[14] Edwards murdered Dannie Boy in a scheme to collect insurance money. Edwards was sentenced to death for this crime in March 2011. He died in prison of natural causes a month later.[12]

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.[15] Two men were arrested and imprisoned for these murders, but released from prison early. Authorities maintain that the correct persons were prosecuted.[14]

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.[16]


Edwards died of natural causes at the Corrections Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio on April 7, 2011, avoiding execution by lethal injection set for August 31.[17][18][19]

In media[edit]

In October 1972, Edwards appeared on the television game show To Tell The Truth, claiming to be reformed and denying any murders.

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.[20]

In March 2017, A&E broadcast a Cold Case Files episode [21] about the murders of Tim Hack and Kelly Drew.[22]

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.[23] 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!”[24] When asked by Wayne Edwards "Do you think your Dad was the Zodiac Killer?" she replied "I do".

In April 2018, A&E aired a six part series, It Was Him: The Many Murders of Ed Edwards. According to an article in RollingStone by Amelia Mcdonell-Parry, Larry Harnish, who has also researched the Black Dahlia case, ridiculed Cameron's use of a website which Cameron believes was authored by Edwards; Cameron's efforts to reach out to Katherine Zellner, attorney for Steven Avery were unsuccessful, but in an email Zellner doubted that Edwards could have murdered Teresa Halbach, while citing no evidence which definitively excluded him; Mcdonell-Parry claimed that Cameron embellished his theories in the A&E documentary, citing a lack of evidence that the Zodiac Killer's hood was made of leather, but also noted that Detective Chad Garcia agreed that Edwards killed more than the five murders for which he was convicted.[25]

In July 2019, Pineapple Street Media in association with Gimlet Media launched a podcast called The Clearing about Edward Wayne Edwards. The podcast story starts with the moment Edwards' daughter April Balascio realises her father might be involved in the "Sweetheart Murders" and includes what came after, as well as delves into Edwards' past by way of Balascio's memories.[26]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "1933-1949". Cold Case Cameron. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Edward Wayne Edwards: A timeline of his life". Madison.com. June 9, 2010. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Cameron, John A. (February 15, 2014). It's me! : Edward Wayne Edwards ; the serial killer you never heard of (First ed.). Santa Rosa, CA. pp. 76–79. ISBN 9781885793058. OCLC 885329017.
  6. ^ Cameron, John A (2014). It's me!: Edward Wayne Edwards ; the serial killer you never heard of. pp. 125–129. ISBN 9781885793058. OCLC 885329017.
  7. ^ "Louisville man arrested in Wisconsin cold case double murder".
  8. ^ "Convicted Killer Pleads Guilty to Slaying a Norton Couple in 1977". https://www.cleveland19.com. Retrieved October 28, 2019. External link in |website= (help)
  9. ^ VIDEO: AP Interview Part 1 Edward Edwards Confession 6/17/2010, retrieved October 28, 2019
  10. ^ Press, Associated (June 17, 2010). "Convicted murderer Edward Edwards confesses to killing foster son". cleveland. Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  11. ^ Sangiacomo, Michael (March 8, 2011). "Serial killer Edward Wayne Edwards sentenced to death in Geauga County slaying". cleveland. Retrieved October 28, 2019.
  12. ^ a b "US serial killer Edward Edwards, 77, pleads for death". news.com.au. March 9, 2011. Retrieved April 9, 2012.
  13. ^ English, Lindsay (July 31, 2009). "Louisville man arrested in Wisconsin cold case double murder". WAVE. Archived from the original on January 29, 2016. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ Redden, Jim (October 27, 2010). "After 50 years, murders still a mystery". Portland Tribune. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  16. ^ Zoellner, Alexa (March 16, 2017). "Hack-Drew case on A&E tonight". Daily Jefferson County Union. Retrieved March 21, 2017.
  17. ^ Gazaway, Charles (April 8, 2011). "Confessed serial killer dies in prison". WAVE. Archived from the original on January 29, 2016. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  18. ^ Brueck, Dana (April 8, 2011). "UPDATE: Edward Edwards Dead". nbc15.com. WMTV. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  19. ^ Sangiacomo, Michael (April 8, 2011). "Convicted serial killer Edward Edwards dies in prison, avoiding execution". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
  20. ^ "IT'S ME, Edward Wayne Edwards, the Serial Killer You Never Heard Of". GoodReads. January 14, 2014. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
  21. ^ "Cold Case Files (2017-)" "Sweethearts, Silenced" (Season 1, Episode 4)
  22. ^ "Hack-Drew case on A&E tonight". Daily Jefferson County Union. March 16, 2017. Retrieved September 27, 2017.
  23. ^ "Investigation Discovery, People Magazine Investigates - My Father the Serial Killer"
  24. ^ "Daughter recalls serial-killer father in People magazine". Daily Jefferson County Union. January 14, 2018. Retrieved January 16, 2018.
  25. ^ McDonell-Parry, Amelia (April 24, 2018). "Inside One Man's Serial-Killer Unification Theory". Rolling Stone. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
  26. ^ Quah, Nicholas. "True Crime Podcast The Clearing Follows One Woman As She Discovers Her Father's Murderous Past". vulture.com. Retrieved July 25, 2019.