Edwards gets 160 years for attacks
Friday, March 26, 2010 11:00 AM
Jack Edwards Jr. was sentenced Thursday to 160 years in prison for two murders and one attempted murder. The maximum sentence he could have received was 180 years.
"Mr. Edwards has proven he does not do well with a short sentence."
Jefferson Circuit Judge Ted Todd while sentencing Jack Edwards Jr. to 160 years in prison. Todd said "the system failed all of us" when Todd opted for more lenient sentencing for Edwards a previous violent crime.
Edwards, who was convicted by a jury March 5, was sentenced by Jefferson Circuit Judge Ted Todd after a sentencing hearing where the prosecution and the defense made arguments for and against circumstances that could increase or lessen the severity of the punishment for murdering Cindy Mauntel and Ranear Kirksey, and trying to murder David Summerlin on Aug. 25, 2008, at Edwards' home on Walnut Street. Testimony at Edwards' trial was that the three were in Madison to sell drugs.
Jefferson County Prosecutor Chad Lewis said that Todd should not consider the four circumstances that defense attorney Mike McDaniel argued should help lessen Edwards' sentence.
The first was that if the incident involving the murders and attempted murder happened again, it would not occur. But Lewis said Edwards' criminal history and history of violence show differently.
"Each time, it's more violent and more serious," Lewis said.
Lewis said Edwards has a criminal history that dates to 1992, when Edwards received one year of probation for operating a vehicle while intoxicated. He was given one year of probation in 1993 for public intoxication and one year of probation in 1994 for theft. In 1995, he was charged with battery and criminal mischief for causing cuts and bruises to the head of a female.
"It's just chilling we had similar circumstances in this case," Lewis said. Edwards' three victims in 2008 had been beaten with a piece of wood.
Five months after Edwards was let out of jail on bond in the 1995 case, he was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated, Lewis said. Edwards was given probation.
In 2001, Edwards was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated resulting in a death after a truck he was driving that was pulling a front-end loader on a trailer hit a large state highway dump truck on State Road 256 near Thompson Road. Ronnie Imel was a passenger in the dump truck and was killed. Edwards was under the influence of a controlled substance at the time, Lewis said.
Todd sentenced Edwards to five years in prison and suspended three years. Edwards was also charged in a drug case related to the charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated.
In 2007, Edwards was charged with battery during a domestic violence incident.
"That aggravator alone should provide the maximum sentence," Lewis said.
The last time police were called out to a case involving Edwards was in 2008, when they answered a disturbance complaint at 810 Walnut St. and found Mauntel, of Cincinnati, Ohio, dead and Kirksey and Summerlin, both of Forest Park, Ohio, injured.
An autopsy revealed Mauntel died of blunt force trauma to the head. Kirksey died later that day at University Hospital in Louisville. He was unable to provide investigators with any information about what had happened. An autopsy revealed he died of a severe closed-impact injury to the head.
Summerlin was taken to University Hospital in Cincinnati and underwent surgery. He is still recovering. He was able to give an interview to law enforcement officers and testified with immunity from potential drug-related charges.
"It was vicious. It was brutal. It was heinous," Lewis said about the 2008 crimes.
Lewis said Edwards tried to escape from the Jefferson County Jail in 2009.
Jefferson County Sheriff Bill Andrews testified Thursday that Edwards' jail disciplinary report included threatening staff, kicking doors, causing a disruption during the night of the county courthouse fire and the attempted escape. The Indiana State Police investigated the attempted escape.
Jefferson County jailer Crystal Servis testified that Edwards became "very violent and angry at times" after his escape attempt. She said he threatened her life and the lives of people she knew because he knew people on the outside who he said would hurt them all.
"He verbally stated things he was going to do," Servis said.
After being accused of attempting to escape, Edwards was transferred to Wabash Valley Correctional Facility in Carlisle. Servis said that when Edwards returned to the Jefferson County Jail for his trial proceedings, he was totally different in his behavior toward the staff.
"He can be nice as can be and then snaps," Servis said.
She said Edwards has been cooperative and the staff rarely hears from him unless he's hungry or needs a shower.
Edwards will appear in court later for two cases - the attempted-escape charge and a drug-related case. The two pending criminal cases were not part of the sentencing hearing.
Another circumstance that was argued at the sentencing hearing was called induced or facilitated defense. Lewis said the victims were asleep and unaware they were going to be attacked. Lewis said drugs did not facilitate the murders, but Edwards' volatile behavior toward his crack-cocaine customers caused the problems.
McDaniel said another circumstance that should be considered in Edwards' favor was that Edwards corroborated with law enforcement. Lewis said Edwards never corroborated with law enforcement and lied to officers every step of the way. Lewis said Edwards lied about killing and injuring the trio from Ohio and later claimed his actions were done in self-defense.
"That's plain double-talk," Lewis said.
The final circumstance the defense raised as reason for lessening Edwards' sentence was his potential for rehabilitation. Lewis said Edwards was given multiple opportunities through his past criminal history to get help for his addiction to crack cocaine and for abuse of controlled substances, but none of it has worked.
"It didn't change his conduct or his character," Lewis said. "Rehabilitation has not deterred him. His crimes are escalating."
"Crack cocaine causes addiction ... and it causes death," McDaniel said.
Lewis said Edwards' sentence should be the maximum penalty available because the harm and injury he caused to three people. The effects of the two murders and attempted murder have permanently changed the lives of the families involved as well.
"Edwards has a history of criminal behavior," Lewis said. "He has had 10 arrests, seven convictions, three with violence and five separate victims. The past is the best way to predict the future."
Lewis said Edwards continues to show no remorse for what he did, never issued an apology to the families and continues to lie about what he did. McDaniel said Edwards has maintained his innocence and is exercising his right to appeal.
"The lack of remorse is an inappropriate factor," McDaniel said. "Look at all the facts in this case. Reach an appropriate sentence in this case. Impose a sentence that upholds the constitution of the state of Indiana, (a sentence) that is justice and rehabilitation, that is not vengeance and retribution."
"We are not counting tomatoes here. We are talking about people here," Lewis said. "This case demands consecutive sentencing."
Todd agreed with McDaniel on the lack of remorse as not being a factor in determining sentencing. Todd said his sentencing decision was "not done lightly or easily."
"Mr. Edwards has proven he does not do well with a short sentence," Todd said.
Todd said the sentence he gave Edwards several years ago of five years with three years suspended did not help Edwards or the community.
"The system failed all of us when I did that," Todd said.
Todd said rehabilitation for Edwards will happen while he is in prison. Todd sentenced Edwards to 60 years for the murder of Mauntel, 60 years for the murder of Kirksey and 40 years for the attempted murder of Summerlin. The sentences are to be served consecutively. Edwards will also have to pay $164 in court costs.
McDaniel submitted a motion to appoint himself as Edwards' attorney for an appeal. The motion said Edwards was indigent and needed an attorney appointed for him during the appeal, which will be filed within 30 days.
Todd said he would allow McDaniel to be appointed as Edwards' attorney for the appeal.
McDaniel also asked Todd to recommend that Edwards be imprisoned at Pendleton Correctional Facility in Pendleton, which is about 120 miles north of Madison. Pendleton Correctional Facility has maximum-security and minimum-security housing for male inmates. McDaniel said the facility is the closest prison to the Madison area and needed to be recommended because Edwards' mother was recently seriously injured in an automobile accident, and she wants to visit him while he is in prison.
Todd said he could not place Edwards in the facility specifically because of population concerns, but it would be taken under advisement.
As Edwards was escorted out of the courtroom in his bright orange jumpsuit, he told his family that he loved them. His family told him that they loved him and for him to take care.
"We're pleased with the sentence," Lewis said. "It gives the victims' family closure. It's essentially a life term."
During the sentencing hearing Thursday, family members, friends and Summerlin testified why Edwards should receive the maximum sentences.
Paula Collum, Mauntel's mother, said Mauntel "was so beautiful" when she was born Jan. 7, 1982. Collum said her memory of her daughter turned to "anguish and unbearable pain" when she received the news that her daughter had been murdered.
"I had to tell her goodbye," Collum said. "She was my first-born child and didn't deserve to be taken."
Collum said Mauntel had four daughters, ranging in age from 4 to 9, and a husband.
"They will never have their mother to tuck them in at night," Collum said.
Rose McKenzie, a long-time friend of Mauntel's, showed photos of Mauntel's daughters. She described how hard life is for Mauntel's children and husband.
"This is what no family should go through," McKenzie said. "Every day, Brian (Mauntel's husband) has to raise four beautiful kids and look into their eyes and see their mother."
McKenzie said there are many milestones Mauntel will miss, such as helping the girls through their first dances, boyfriends, prom, picking out dresses, their wedding day, grandchildren and holidays.
"They will wish their mom was with them," McKenzie said.
McKenzie said Mauntel's four daughters have to spend Christmas and Thanksgiving without their mother, and spend them at the graveyard looking her tombstone.
Kirksey's father, Dwight D. Jenkins, read a strongly-worded letter to Edwards and the court. First, he thanked the state, the judge and the jury for giving Edwards a fair trial, but his emotions changed when he spoke to Edwards specifically.
"What you did was a cowardly act beyond comprehension," Jenkins said. "What you did was wrong. I hope you die and roast in hell."
Kirksey's mother, Pauline, said Kirksey's child has no father as a result of Edwards' actions.
"You don't know how much pain you have caused me and my family," Kirksey said. "You beat them worse than you would beat a wild animal."
Summerlin, the only surviving victim of the incident, had testified at Edwards' trial and testified at his sentencing. He said the beating he received from Edwards left him with eight titanium plates in his head, and he owes about $90,000 in medical bills for treatment that included brain surgery.
"I'm real fragile," Summerlin said. "Anything could kill me."
Summerlin said he has lost 30 percent of his hearing in his right ear, about 50 percent of his hearing in his left ear, has no sense of smell or taste, continuously shakes and has vertigo as a result of being severely beaten to the head.
"I had to learn to walk again. I had to learn how to talk again," Summerlin said.
Summerlin said he forgives Edwards for what he did, but Edwards needs to change. The only way Edwards can change, he said, is by serving a life sentence in prison for what he did.
"I forgive you, Jack, but you gotta pay," Summerlin said. "You got no respect for people, for humans. You know why I lived? Because you needed to change."
Summerlin said it was up to the judge to give Edwards an appropriate sentence.
"The judge is all I got," Summerlin said. "He's all we got."
Summerlin's mother, Shelly Steel, said her son has suffered and will continue to suffer because of Edwards.
"I'm asking for justice for my son, Cindy and Ranear," Steel said. "Every day I watch my son struggle."
Steel said she asked God for guidance on what Edwards' punishment should be.
"God said, 'Vengeance is mine.' Your punishment will come," Steel said. "With your final breath, you will pay with your eternal soul. You don't deserve to have your life."