Archive for Friday, May 11, 2007

Man found competent to stand in gun trial

Ja Ja’ Edwards believed to be with hip-hop artist night before he was slain

May 11, 2007


Man connected to Anthony Vital murder to stand trial on gun charges

A Lawrence man linked to an unsolved Douglas County homicide will stand trial on deferral gun charges. Enlarge video

A Lawrence man who faces federal gun charges in connection with the unsolved killing of a Lawrence hip-hop artist has been declared mentally competent to stand trial.

Major C. "Ja Ja" Edwards, 27, was arrested on a federal warrant Oct. 23 in Mississippi for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition. Douglas County Sheriff's investigators had been looking for Edwards because he was believed to have spent the night out with Anthony "Clacc" Vital, 28, on the final night of Vital's life.

Nearly seven months after Vital, the Lawrence hip-hop artist, was found dead Oct. 15 in rural Douglas County, the investigation has not publicly moved forward for the last few months.

"It's still an ongoing investigation. They are still working on it," said Lt. Kari Wempe, a Douglas County Sheriff's spokeswoman.

After his arrest, a federal grand jury indicted Edwards on five counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm or ammunition and one count of possessing a firearm not registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. Edwards was convicted in Douglas County District Court in 2000 for dealing cocaine.

In January, U.S. District Judge Carlos Murguia approved an order for Edwards to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. According to court records, Edwards' attorney, Phillip R. Gibson, had written a motion earlier that Edwards had not been able to take medication prescribed for bipolar disorder since he was arrested.

In April, Murguia found Edwards to be competent and set his jury trial for 1:30 p.m. Aug. 6 in Kansas City, Kan.

According to a complaint filed in federal court, while investigating the Vital case Douglas County Sheriff's officers found an informant who said he saw Edwards in possession of .38-caliber revolver. Investigators also found a girlfriend of Edwards who said she had purchased a .22-caliber handgun for Edwards and then traded it in for the .38.

Officers also found .22-caliber bullets inside a residence that Edwards had been sharing with another girlfriend in the 500 block of Florida Street.

Three other people have been charged in Douglas County with either obstruction or criminal possession of a firearm related to the Vital investigation.

No one has been charged with killing Vital.

Edwards has unrelated cases pending in Douglas County District Court, and Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson has said those cases are on hold as prosecutors await the outcome of the federal case.


outdoor55 11 years, 1 month ago

I have one question. Does this man have, or has he had, a valid drivers liscence? If so, it is my belief that he should be competent to stand trial.

Allie 11 years, 1 month ago

WTF? Major Cornelious Edwards in my opinion killed CLACC. He was with him the night before. was in possesion of the gun that killed him. He killed him and ran to mississippi. who does he think he is? OJ? I hope he rots in prison. He is also HIV positive. why dont they put that in the paper. This is a terrible disqusting man. He spread HIV to over 100 women in Lawrence and none of them can press charges because he supposedly did not know until he was in a mental hospital for a short stay about this time last year. Why dont they tell the real story on this monster????

Jamesaust 11 years, 1 month ago

A bipolar gangbanger? Just what we needed.

What's next? The case of the dyspeptic arsonist?

Kat Christian 11 years, 1 month ago

The last thing I want to look at in the morning when I open my LJW online is a huge picture of a criminal. All week long LJW has done nothing sensationalize criminals on the front page. Why sensationalize criminal activity and the criminals who perform them? I imagine these guys are feeling like celebrities of sorts and what does this do but send a message to our youths that if you want to make it to the top do something outrageously criminal and you can get the front page on the news. I realize these stories are somewhat newsworthy but not for front page publicity. I don't know what is happening with LJW as of late but if this continues I'm boycotting YOU and the only use I'll use for your paper is to line my kitty box. Because what you have been putting on the front page lately is nothing but trash.

Eric Beightel 11 years, 1 month ago

My questions is...if he wasn't found competent to stand, would they allow him to sit?

Terrible headline.

acg 11 years, 1 month ago

Hehee ebbenji.

I don't think the Jworld is sensationalizing criminals. News is news. This man had a competency hearing regarding a murder that was much discussed around town and on this board. The results of that hearing is news for people who really want to know what's going on in the world and the surrounding community. I'd much rather see real news as the major headline than some stupid fluff piece.

50YearResident 11 years, 1 month ago

Allie, Why would 100 women want to have sex with this person in the first place?

Allie 11 years, 1 month ago


50YearResident 11 years, 1 month ago

Edwards will get his "due" in federal prison with "Life". What goes around, comes around.

gatagirl 11 years, 1 month ago

He does have children. His rights to his children (as well as those of his ex-wife, who is now pregnant by his cousin) have been terminated by the court system. My understanding is that the story on spreading AIDS is just a rumor. He is crazy though. The "WET" really messed with his brain, and a diagnosis of bi-polar doesn't even begin to touch it. It also must be said, that if he was in fact involved in this murder, it is absolutely not the first.

TheGoldenBoy 11 years, 1 month ago

His diagnosis is really irrelevent. He has been found competent to stand trial. Now, he must sbe held responsible for his actions. It is time to start sending a message to would-be thugs, gangbangers, and drug dealers that Lawrence isn't going to tolerate their present in our town. In order to prevent such occurrences in the future, we need to start by closing down businesses that cater to the criminal element from Topeka and Kansas City. We will start by declaring the Last Call a public nuisance and have the place shut down. If necessary, we will pass an ordinance that will not allow places like the Granada to be able to have hip-hop concerts.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 1 month ago

Actually, the trial is for gun charges. No one has been charged with the murder.

acg 11 years, 1 month ago

I think it's a drug SouthernBelle. When I was young WET was when they dipped cigarettes in formaldehyde (sp?) and let it dry and then smoked it. It was apparently an hallucenogenic. Now I have no idea what WET may be. That was bad enough and 15 years ago. I can only imagine what the little darlings are smoking/snorting/shooting these days.

gatagirl 11 years, 1 month ago

"Wet" is still a cigarette or joint dipped in embalming fluid, dried, and smoked. Continued use of this "drug" has caused numerous people to be committed to mental hospitals for life. I work in the mental health field (am not a psychiatrist though), but I have known this man personally for years, and very much believe that he is a danger to anybody he comes into contact with, due to his erratic behavior (think Dr Hekyl and Mr. Hyde).

Motivation 11 years, 1 month ago

This case hits Lawrence hard. I'm personally glad that something in the way of an update was finally posted about it. Although, I know Major, it was only in passing and he seemed okay, just has a short fuse.

I can say that I knew him before he even was hooked on "wet" and he has been bipolar for longer than that. I just hope they catch WHOEVER killed CLACC. He was a peaceful person that never started anything and had an enormous talent for music.

TB 11 years, 1 month ago

man i knew alot of these brothas and everyone of them lost their minds when the wet hit town

Allie 11 years, 1 month ago

Major Edwards is HIV positive it is not a rumar. The state send out 24 letters from a list Major gave them of women he had slept with in the past year and claim there are MANY more he does not know the names of or where abouts.

Motivation 11 years, 1 month ago

It is against the law to post the health status of any individual. It is also confidential information that the health authorities possess. There are many websites that these women may visit to check. Please, CLACC's death was enough, can we please grow up and stop gossipping about Major? Major is in JAIL and will suffer the consequences of whatever his actions were. I truly wish the best for CLACC's family, and Major's as well, this has been difficult for everyone. I hope this case breaks and the murderer, whomever he/she is, is brought to justice soon.

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