Convicted Killer of Four Admits to Also Killing Foster Son

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An elderly convict who was responsible for the decades-old deaths of two couples, one in Ohio and one in Wisconsin, has now said that he also shot to death a young man that he considered a foster son.

Edward W. Edwards, 77, was arrested in July 2009 in connection with the killings of William Lavaco, 21, of Doylestown, OH, and Judith Straub, 18, of Sterling Ohio. Both were killed in 1977. He also pleaded guilty to the1980 murders of Tim Hack and Kelly Drew, both 19, in Wisconsin.

Edwards will be sentenced next week for the death of Hack and Drew; he faces two terms of life imprisonment, as Wisconsin does not have the death penalty. An Ohio jury has already sentenced Edwards to two life terms. Although Ohio currently supports the death penalty in certain homicide cases, Edwards is not eligible because the state’s death penalty statues were invalidated by a Supreme Court ruling in the years between 1974 and 1978.

Now, saying that he would rather be executed than live out his life in prison, Edwards has confessed to the murder of 24-year-old Dannie Boy Edwards, who legally changed his name from Dannie Law Gloeckner after being taken in by Edwards and his wife, Kay Edwards, in the mid-1990s. Shortly thereafter, according to Edwards, Dannie Boy began stealing credit cards and other valuables from the family. Additionally, Edwards had taken out a life insurance policy on Dannie Boy, worth approximately $183,000.

In a recent interview, Edwards described how he lured the young man to an Ohio cemetary, and shot him twice in the chest with a 20-gauge shotgun. He then buried the body in a shallow grave. Dannie Boy’s body was found in 1997, but no one has ever been charged in connection with his murder. Investigators are still trying to corroborate Edwards’ story.

Edwards has a long history of lawbreaking, including stealing cars, robbing banks and gas stations, and conning women as he traveled across the country. After landing on the FBI’s Most Wanted Fugitives list in 1961, he was captured by federal agents and sent to federal prisons in Leavenworth, Kansas and Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. He also wrote an autobiography entitled “Metamorphosis of a Criminal,” in which he detailed his life of crime.

Even if he is convicted of killing Dannie Boy, Edwards may not receive the death penalty. Ohio juries must find suspects guilty of a secondary offense such as arson, rape or aggravated robbery, on top of aggravated murder, in order to recommend the death penalty. Although judges have the final say in sentencing, it’s rare that they override a jury’s recommendation.

 

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