LOUISVILLE, Kentucky – A former drifter accused of killing a young couple nearly 30 years ago told detectives he had sex with the woman and then watched a group of men stomp the couple to death, according to prosecutors.
Edward W. Edwards, 76, told detectives after his arrest in Louisville, Ky., in July that he didn't know who killed Tim Hack and Kelly Drew, both 19, according to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday by Jefferson County prosecutors. The couple disappeared in August 1980 from a wedding reception at a hall near a campground where Edwards worked as a handyman.
Investigators questioned Edwards about the couple's disappearance that September. Edwards left the state shortly afterward.
The couple's bodies were found in the woods weeks later, about 70 feet from each other. The case went cold until July, when state analysts matched DNA from semen on Drew's pants to Edwards and detectives traveled to Louisville to arrest him.
Asked how his DNA got on Drew's pants, Edwards said he drank with Hack and Drew and had consensual sex with her in a field outside the reception hall, prosecutors said. The complaint does not specify where the three allegedly drank.
Edwards told detectives he saw Hack fight with two men, and the men stomped Hack to death as Drew screamed. He then saw three men stomp Drew to death as she lay on her back. He said he didn't intervene or tell police because he didn't want to get involved, according to the complaint.
He told detectives he had thought about killing people, but had never done so, prosecutors said.
Edwards, who has been living in Louisville for several years, was charged last month with two counts of first-degree murder. He has not yet entered a plea in the case.
On Thursday, Edwards waived his right to a preliminary hearing, the step in the legal process where a judge hears evidence and decides whether to proceed to trial. His attorney, Jeffrey De La Rosa, said prosecutors' burden of proof is so light in such hearings he conceded it would go to trial.
"Our goal at this point is to get the police reports, start looking at what has been done since 1980 on," De La Rosa said after the hearing.
He said he knew Edwards made statements to police but declined to comment on them. Asked about his strategy, he said only that DNA evidence "is not infallible."
Hack and Drew's families jammed the courtroom. Edwards was brought into the room in a wheelchair, hooked up to an oxygen tank. De La Rosa told reporters Edwards is in very poor health but did not elaborate.
Drew's brother, Mike Drew, told reporters he didn't find the statements Edwards' allegedly made to detectives to be credible. He said his family was happy Edwards waived the hearing, but he had hoped the proceeding would have shed more light on the case.
According to the complaint, Edwards' wife, Kay Edwards, told detectives that she and her husband left Wisconsin "awfully quick" at night after he was questioned nearly three decades ago. They moved to Pennsylvania, even though Edwards hadn't lined up a job and didn't know anyone there, she said. The couple moved around frequently but it was unusual for them to leave after the school year started, she said.
Edwards wrote an autobiography in which he detailed crisscrossing the country in the 1950s, running scams, seducing women and robbing banks. He landed on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted Fugitives list before he was eventually captured. He claimed to have turned his life around after a stint in federal prison.
A call Thursday to Edwards' Louisville home went to voice mail, which did not allow a message to be left.