Criminal Justice

Tyler Edmonds Acquitted

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Tyler Edmonds is the 19-year-old Mississippi man who was tried and convicted of conspiring with his sister to murder his half-sister's husband.  He was 13 at the time.  In January 2007, his conviction was thrown out by the Mississippi Supreme Court (which, I might add, cited some of my reporting for reason in a concurring opinion).  In ordering a new trial, the court struck the testimony of now-former Mississippi medical examiner Dr. Steven Hayne.

Hayne improbably testified that the bullet wounds in the victim's body suggested there were two hands on the gun that fired that bullet, consistent with District Attorney Forrest Allgood's theory that Edmonds and his sister fired the gun simultaneously.  It was the first time the state's supreme court had ever thrown out Hayne's testimony in a criminal case.

Edmonds was retried last week in Starkville, Mississippi.  While Hayne was again allowed to testify, this time, he wasn't permitted to give his two-hands-on-the-gun theory.

This afternoon, the jury acquitted Edmonds on all charges.

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  1. A rare Radley Balko blog post that doesn’t invite crippling depression! Well done.

  2. Would that be Starkville MS ?
    I’m unfamiliar with any Starksville there.

  3. Your work is always appreciated, Radley, and in this case we can even say it helped bring about a happy ending. Hopefully the first of many.

    While Hayne was again allowed to testify, this time, he wasn’t permitted to give his two-hands-on-the-gun theory.

    I’m curious, didn’t his previous testimony pretty much rely on that theory? Does he have a new theory now, or did he just silently stare off into space during the questioning?

  4. I think he was limited to just testifying about the cause of death (i.e. bullet wound to the head, etc.).

  5. That’s one for the good guys in Mississippi.

    Outside my window.

  6. he was limited to just testifying about the cause of death (i.e. bullet wound to the head, etc.)

    What I’ve learned about the good doctor would lead me reflexively to assume some other cause of death.

    I’m put in mind of Mary McCarthy on Lillian Hellman: “Every word she writes is a lie, including and and the.”

    Thank you, and Way to go, Mr. Balko!

  7. Anon, if you need to be depressed, let me remind you that Hayne was probably well paid for his testimony in this case.

  8. “two hands on the gun”? What the hell is that?

  9. Radley,

    Congratulations on your excellent work.

    Does Mr. Edmonds have any hope of suing Dr. Hayne for malpractice, gross negligence, or something else…any hope of getting some money from the state (sadly, taxpayers) of Mississippi?

  10. Er?k Boston, Esq. | November 1, 2008, 7:41pm | #

    Anon, if you need to be depressed, let me remind you that Hayne was probably well paid for his testimony in this case.

    Thanks for peeing on the popcorn, Eryk.

    😉

    And serious thanks, once again, to Radley.

    “…take arms against a sea of troubles.
    And by opposing end them.” – Hamlet. Act iii. Sc. 1

  11. Radley, do you hava a symnopsis of the “two hands theory”?

  12. Heinrick, follow the “January 2007” link in the post.

  13. The really depressing thing about the whole Steven Hayne story is that he’s not facing jail time himself for making shit up and presenting it as evidence.

    -jcr

  14. jcr:

    Yet.

  15. Oh, and anyone else hearing Richard “Billy Flynn” Gere singing “and they both reached for the gun” whenever the two-hands-on-the-gun theory is mentioned?

  16. I hereby nominate Radley Balko for Human of the Year.

    Seriously, your work is the epitome of what journalism is supposed to be. Keep it up.

  17. Good work in exposing this charlatan, Balko. I believe we will nail him yet. How sad it is that simply because of his unearned and unaudited position of power, Hayne could promulgate such a ridiculous theory. Even the Agathe Christie “the man was so bad that they all took turns stabbing him” scenario is more plausible. What a joke, what a silly thing for which to have lived under a shadow for so long. And to think that Edmonds is lucky to have been cleared, and might not have been without the work of people like Balko. Justice shouldn’t be so perverted in our country. That’s unacceptable.

  18. Seriously Radley, I hope you feel really great about this. Great work, great ending.

  19. What’s so stunning about this whole fiasco is not necessarily that there are people willing to commit this kind of evil, malicious fraud. That doesn’t surprise me. What leaves me so flabbergasted is the fact that even when it’s out in the open, you can’t even get the local MS press to do anything about it, much less the state legislature or some other government ethics mechanism. No one even cares that the state of Mississippi has been suborning perjury to send innocent people not just to prison, but to death row.

    I’d really love to see some kind of reason.tv interview or something picking Balko’s brain on this case, kind of like Gillespie did with Matt Welch for that journalism class. I’m sure just his experience in this whole thing is a fascinating, albeit infuriating, story.

  20. Hayne is a piece of shit who would deserve to burn in Hell if such a place existed. Now fucking sue me, bitch.

  21. Wow, sounds like a real “WhoDoneit” to me.

    Jiff
    http://www.internet-anonymity.net.tc

  22. I hereby nominate Radley Balko for Human of the Year.

    Seriously, your work is the epitome of what journalism is supposed to be. Keep it up.

    I’ll echo this sentiment. Amazing work Radley — your stuff should be held up by journalism professors everywhere as something that kids should strive for. If there were more like you, the world would be a much, much better place. Thanks.

  23. I’d really love to see some kind of reason.tv interview or something picking Balko’s brain on this case, kind of like Gillespie did with Matt Welch for that journalism class. I’m sure just his experience in this whole thing is a fascinating, albeit infuriating, story.

    Agreed – I’d like to hear that with some defense lawyer input too.

  24. Amen!

    John C Jackson | November 2, 2008, 5:49am | #

    “Hayne is a piece of shit who would deserve to burn in Hell if such a place existed. Now fucking sue me, bitch.”

    He may as well get his papers ready for me too. I will be in Mississippi on Monday, trying to DIG a bigger hole for Hayne and I am digging with a BACKHOE not a shovel.

    So SUE me Hayne…what are you going to get from a disabled former paramedic? Well, let’s see, there’s my old hoopty of a car…

    Radley, you ARE the MAN! I think a Pultizer Prize is on order! I can’t think of anyone more deserving than our own ‘bulldog’ journalist Radley Balko.

    To Tyler Edmonds…Congradulations! Make your life and freedom mean something. I wish you happiness and success.

    I hope HAYNE is prosecuted, found guilty and is made to occupy the cell you were in for all these years…talk about poetic justice!

    Please do not forget there are more HAYNE victims languishing in prison and some are on Death Row because of Hayne. Devin A. Bennett, Jeffrey K. Havard, Henry C. Moses, and Brett Jones to name a few.

    Death Row was cheering last night! I heard them myself while speaking to Devin. Your VICTORY is their VICTORY!

    And Radley, I still wanna marry you when I grow up!!!

  25. I second or third the question concerning how any fool could believe that the position of a bullet in the body indicates how many hands were on the gun that fired it. That sounds like something from The Onion.

  26. Radley, you will never have to buy your own drinks in Fort Myers (if you are ever this way). They are all on me.

  27. [quote]Radley, do you hava a symnopsis of the “two hands theory”?[/quote]

    From Radley’s original post…
    [quote]Hayne testified at trial that the bullet wounds in Fulgham’s body were consistent with the prosecution’s theory that there were two hands on the gun that fired those bullets.[/quote]

  28. Finally justice has been served!!!! Tyler is finally safe, sound and felony free of a conviction that should never of happened in the first place.

    Tyler is the poster child of a system gone wrong. Yes he should sue Hayne for everything he has. That man played part in putting an innocent 13 year old child in prison for over 4 years!!!!!

    On behalf of Tyler and Justice For Juveniles, thanks so much to everyone for your hard work and dedication on helping Tyler through this horrible ordeal.

    Cari Barichello
    http://www.justiceforjuveniles.org

    Please read our Press Statement on the Tyler Edmonds verdict at the above link, which mentions many thanks, especially to Radley Balko!

  29. Radley, you are the man.

    I don’t know how many years you’ve been doing this, but for most of them it must have felt like pissing into the world. Now your work is showing concrete and beneficial results, and nobody deserves it more than you.

  30. I second Joel’s post.

    It say lots about the current state of America when the longshot is the guy trying to uphold truth in our judical system.

  31. I would gladly buy Radley a few drinks next time he’s in NYC.

  32. I second that. Radley should never have to buy his own drinks in NYC either.

    “The man was so good that they all took turns buying him drinks.”

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  34. Was Tyler able to get his record exspundged??

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