Nation - Wisconsin Convicted murderer confesses to killing foster son 77-year-old con man says he wants to be sentenced to death

By Todd Richmond

Associated Press Writer

JEFFERSON, Wis. (AP) -- An aging con man convicted of killing two young couples in Wisconsin and Ohio decades ago has claimed he also shot his foster son to death.

In a jailhouse interview with The Associated Press, Edward W. Edwards, 77, said he lured Dannie Boy Edwards to a secluded cemetery near the family's home in Burton, Ohio, in 1996. He said he pressed a 20-gauge shotgun to the man's chest and pulled the trigger twice.

Edwards said he was angry because the man, who was in his mid-20s when he was killed, had stolen credit cards and other belongings from his children and he wanted to collect on $250,000 worth of life insurance.

Edwards said he's telling the story now, 14 years later, because he wants to be sentenced to death in Ohio, even though prosecutors haven't charged him in the slaying.

"I'm responsible for it," Edwards said. "It didn't work on my conscience. I spent the money. I was having a good time. ... you do it, forget it was done and go about your business until next time."

Geauga County, Ohio, Sheriff Dan McClelland said investigators have spoken to Edwards many times about his foster son's death and that they were still trying to corroborate his story. Edwards is in custody and doesn't present a threat, he added.

"Each time he talks, we get a sliver more. You get enough of those slivers, pretty soon you have a lot of information," McClelland said.

Edwards acknowledged he has been a liar all his life, but insisted he was telling the truth about Dannie Boy's slaying because his family urged him to come clean about everything he's done.

He said he's killed only five people.

"There is nothing else," he said. "His is the last one."

He said he hoped his latest confession would pressure prosecutors to bring charges. He said he'd rather be executed than fester in prison.

In a deal with prosecutors in Wisconsin and Ohio, Edwards pleaded guilty earlier this month to killing William Lavaco, 21, of Doylestown, Ohio, and Judith Straub, 18, of Sterling, Ohio, in 1977. He also pleaded guilty to killing 19-year-old Wisconsin sweethearts Tim Hack and Kelly Drew in 1980.

A Summit County, Ohio, judge last week sentenced Edwards to two life terms last week. Homicide is a capital crime in Ohio, but a U.S. Supreme Court ruling invalidated the state's death penalty statutes between 1974 and 1978, making Edwards ineligible for execution.

He is set to be sentenced in Hack and Drew's deaths in Jefferson County, Wis., on Monday. Wisconsin does not have the death penalty.

The sentences cap a life of crime for Edwards. According to his 1972 autobiography, "Metamorphosis of a Criminal," he spent the 1950s and early 1960s drifting across the country, stealing cars, robbing banks and gas stations and seducing women he met along the way.

He landed on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list in 1961. FBI agents captured him in Atlanta in 1962.

He did a stint in federal prison in Leavenworth, Kan., where he claims a guard persuaded him to clean up his life. After he was paroled from the federal prison in Lewisburg, Pa., in 1967, he embarked on a speaking tour to persuade young people to avoid crime.

"Don't be a crime victim," he wrote in the book. "Be a crime stopper."

Sitting in a wheelchair in the Jefferson County Jail's multipurpose room, Edwards told the AP the publisher embellished most of his story, but he did intend to go straight.

"Don't ask me where I went wrong," he said. "So much for good intentions."

Published: Fri, Jun 18, 2010


  1. No comments
Sign in to post a comment »