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Archive for Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Defendant in connection with 2006 death of Lawrence hip-hop artist Anthony ‘Clacc’ Vital says he was misled during plea talks

June 21, 2011

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Major Edwards, a defendant seeking to withdraw his plea in connection with the 2006 death of Lawrence hip-hop artist Anthony “Clacc” Vital, claims he was not aware in 2010 he was pleading guilty to intentionally killing someone.

“(Edwards) has maintained from the beginning that he did not murder the victim,” defense attorney Napoleon Crews wrote in a supplemental motion filed earlier this month.

Edwards, 31, of Lawrence, pleaded guilty in March 2010 to voluntary manslaughter for his involvement in Vital’s death. He was also the state’s key witness in the first-degree murder trial this year of co-defendant Durrell Jones, 24, of Kansas City, Kan. Edwards testified he saw Jones shoot Vital west of Lawrence on Oct. 15, 2006, to collect on a drug debt. Edwards testified he felt remorse for leading Jones to Vital that night.

Jones’ defense attorney has attacked Edwards’ credibility and accused him of trying to pin the murder on his client. The jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict in Jones’ trial, and a new one is scheduled for August. In May, Edwards asked for Chief District Judge Robert Fairchild to withdraw his guilty plea alleging he was “misled, coerced, or unfairly taken advantage of during plea negotiations.” Edwards has also alleged attorneys promised he would receive a seven- to eight-year prison sentence but instead was facing 18 years in prison.

Douglas County prosecutors have said they don’t see a basis for Edwards to withdraw his guilty plea.

Crews in his motion said negotiations about a sentence for Edwards continued after his March plea, and he attached letters Edwards wrote to his defense attorney at the time, Kay Huff, who removed herself from the case when she was appointed to become a Douglas County district judge in January. According to a transcript of the 2010 plea hearing, the two sides agreed to ask for a standard range sentence of 18 years in prison.

Crews said prosecutors — in exchange for testimony against Jones — in a May 2010 email to Huff mentioned being willing to ask Fairchild to cut three years from an 18-year sentence, while he could qualify for an additional two-year reduction for good behavior in prison plus credit for already serving four years in custody at the time awaiting sentencing. Crews also filed an undated document — signed by prosecutors, Huff and Edwards — that mentioned recommending a four-year reduction in his 18-year sentence instead.

Fairchild has scheduled a July 13 hearing on the defense motion to withdraw the plea and ask for a jury trial.

Comments

PrettyTony 2 years, 10 months ago

You cant talk all the talk you want. Fact of business is Major Edwards is innocent of the crime he was charged with. The law is the law. Just cause a man has a criminal history doen't mean he's guilty of every charge ever brought up on. Damn...you people may need to educate yourself on how the law works. The state doesn't care about innocence or guilt. To them its win or lose. If they don't convict SOMEBODY for the crime...they lose. Why you think this case has taken so long to conclude???? After ALL this time the state is still trying to put their cases together. FREE MAJOR EDWARDS!!

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somedude20 2 years, 10 months ago

Like father like son. Old pops is shady ( and not too bright) and it seems as if the son shares these same traits. Maybe the next Edwards can get promoted to a Colonel

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JimmyJoeBob 2 years, 10 months ago

And even if they did ask Fairchild to reduce his sentence the Judge can sentence Major to whatever he wants. Major has been trouble since he was a young juvenile. Good riddence

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rtwngr 2 years, 10 months ago

To Edwards: You helped in taking the life of another human, for whatever reason. Shut up and take your punishment like a man.

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LadyJ 2 years, 10 months ago

And for the record, his past crimminal acts, he didn't do any of that either.

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Paula Kissinger 2 years, 10 months ago

Actually, it sounds like something his "ancestors" have taught him to say now that it finally occurs to him that he has no other options and that he really is going to have to pay for something that he really was involved with. His innocence would most likely be confirmed by the fact that right after this homicide he felt the urge to travel out of state. Innocent people usually do things like that, you know.

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UNIKU 2 years, 10 months ago

Sounds like something guilty defendants would do. It happens alot in jails.

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Amy Heeter 2 years, 10 months ago

Poor Major Edwards. He can't get any respect.

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countrygal07 2 years, 10 months ago

Sounds like something the Douglas County Prosecutor's would do. Promise something and dont keep their word. Happens alot in Douglas County.

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