JEFFERSON, Wis. – JEFFERSON, Wis. (AP) — An aging con man who confessed to killing five people over 20 years and wrote an autobiography detailing his life of crime was sentenced to two life terms in prison Monday, his second such sentence in as many weeks.
Edward W. Edwards sat quietly during the hearing, handcuffed in his wheelchair about 20 feet from his victims' family. The 77-year-old did not address them and showed no emotion, spending much of the hearing with his head drooped, facing the ground.
The victims' family members cried as relatives talked about their pain and grief since the 1980 murders of 19-year-old Wisconsin sweethearts Tim Hack and Kelly Drew.
"You are a lying, evil murderer and God is saving a special place in hell for you," said Drew's mother, Norma Walker. She told Edwards he deserved to be hanged.
Kelly Drew's sister, Wendy, said she wanted him to suffer.
"I'm glad that Wisconsin doesn't have the death penalty because I want this despicable piece of garbage to fester in prison as long as possible," she said in a statement read to the courtroom.
Edwards also has confessed to killing a couple near Akron, Ohio, in 1977 and was sentenced 10 days ago to two life terms in that case. In a jailhouse interview with The Associated Press last week, he said he had killed a fifth man — a 24-year-old he considered to be his foster son. He said he was talking about the killing because he wanted the death penalty. Ohio has the death penalty; Wisconsin does not.
Edwards, of Louisville, Ky., was arrested in July after DNA connected him to the deaths of Tim Hack and his girlfriend, Kelly Drew, who disappeared from a Wisconsin wedding reception in August 1980. Their bodies were found weeks later in the woods. Investigators believe Hack was stabbed and Drew strangled.
Edwards agreed to a plea deal earlier this month in which he admitted to both the Wisconsin murders and the killing of Judith Straub, 18, of Sterling, Ohio, and Bill Lavaco, 21, of Doylestown, Ohio. He shot each of them in the neck in a Norton, Ohio, park.
He was sentenced to two life terms for those slayings and under a plea deal will serve his prison time in Ohio. Ohio has the death penalty, but Edwards wasn't eligible for it because a U.S. Supreme Court ruling invalidated the punishment between 1974 and 1978. It is unclear if he could receive it for the fifth slaying; he has not been charged, and Ohio juries must find offenders guilty of a serious secondary offense — such as rape, arson or aggravated robbery — in addition to aggravated murder.
Edwards spent much of his life running from the law, landing on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list in 1961. In his 1972 autobiography, "Metamorphosis of a Criminal," he wrote 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.