Edwards murder case heads to trial Monday

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 11, 2005

GREENSBORO-On Monday the case involving the murder of Nathaniel Jeffries will head to trial after almost three years. Johnny Edwards, who is accused of murder and attempted murder, will be put before a jury at the Hale County Courthouse to prove he was not responsible for the Nov. 2002 killing of Jeffries and the attempted murder of Hardee Joe Davis.

Assistant District Attorney Barrown Lankster said the case has taken a while to get to trial, but the District Attorney’s office planned to prove they will not tolerate violent crimes such as this.

“This case is several years old,” Lankster said. “This case took place in November of 2002 so it probably should have been tried well before now, but nevertheless the District Attorney’s office is making an all out effort against murder, rape and all other violent crimes.”

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Lankster said the office has been eager to get the case before a jury.

“This case was on top of the District Attorney’s priority list as far as getting it to trial,” Lankster said. “We will strike the jury Monday and hopefully we can begin the trial.”

He said he hoped to have a verdict in two days.

Edwards will face charges of murder and attempted murder stemming from what began as a bar brawl. On the case in question the victims, Hardee Joe Davis and Nathaniel Jeffries, were at a club in Greensboro along with Edwards and others. The club was congested and Davis apparently bumped into Edwards and a scuffle followed.

Davis is said to have gotten the best of Edwards and was pulled off by Jeffries. Following the fight Davis and Jeffries left the club.

The allegation is that while at the club Edwards hit Jeffries on the head with a bottle and injured him prompting he and Davis to leave to treat his wounds. They left the club and there was no further fight between the attempted murder victim and the defendant in this case.

The pair left the club and went to Davis’ mothers house, which was also the sister of the deceased. Lankster said Jeffries then proceeded to his mother’s house and arrived safely for a while. When they left again Edwards and friends were said to be waiting for them.

“They got to the mothers house for a short period of time and left there to go to Jeffries house and left there,” Lankster said. “Their intentions, of course, were to go in separate directions but in the course of separating several guys approached them with weapons.”

Edwards is then alleged to have swung the barrel of his shotgun at Jeffries missing him. Edwards is then said to have stepped back and shot Davis in the leg. After this he shot Jeffries who would later die from his wounds. Before fleeing the scene Edwards is alleged to have shot Davis again.

Jeffries was taken to the local hospital where he was declared dead.

Lankster said this was a gruesome crime because the victims were unarmed.

“There is nothing that the deceased victim did, but try to keep his nephew from getting into a fight,” Lankster said. “This was a senseless killing that did not have to take place regardless of what happened at the club.”

He added the fight should have been over when Davis and Jeffries left the club.

“Each party went their own way, nevertheless the defendant and his friends came looking for a fight and apparently came looking to do harm to Hardee Joe Davis and Jeffries,” Lankster said. “Regardless of what he may say about the victim of the attempted murder we feel that we have a strong case. The defendant and his friends were armed and the victim of the murder and the attempted murder were not. They had no weapons.”

In addition to the murder and attempted murder charges Edwards will face several drug charges. Lankster said Edwards has proven he is a dangerous man and they intend to prosecute the case to the fullest extent of the law.