HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — Terry Edwards was seen holding a gun when fleeing from a suburban Dallas Subway sandwich shop after a robbery where two workers were fatally shot. He was spotted ditching the weapon in a trash can nearby and was carrying more than $3,000 in a Subway bag when he was arrested a short time later.
Edwards admitted being in the store but told police a man he knew as "T-Bone" gave him the gun as they left and he was in a bathroom when that man shot and killed the two employees. Investigators later would determine the other man he claimed to not know by name was his cousin.
On Thursday evening, Edwards, 43, is set for lethal injection for the slaying of 26-year-old Mickell Goodwin more than 14 years ago. The shop's 34-year-old manager, Tommy Walker, also was gunned down in the holdup. Evidence showed Edwards worked at the store and was fired weeks earlier for stealing money from the register. No one else was inside the shop at the time of the shooting.
He'd be the second Texas inmate executed this year and the third nationally.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals late Wednesday rejected an appeal from Edwards that sought to delay his execution.
An attorney for Edwards, John Mills, said the appeal would be taken to the U.S. Supreme Court.
A separate appeal at the high court also is seeking a delay. Attorneys want the court to order Texas prison officials to test the pentobarbital used in the lethal injection to ensure it is potent enough to keep Edwards from unconstitutional suffering.
Attorneys for Edwards also have contended that Dallas County prosecutors at his trial incorrectly portrayed Edwards as the shooter and that he was innocent of the shootings. They also said the jury for Edwards, who is black, excluded black people. The execution should be stopped and the case reopened for a "full and fair" hearing, attorney Carl Medders told the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
"At every step of his proceedings, Edwards has received abysmal representation," Medders said.
The 5th Circuit, however, agreed with state lawyers who argued the appeals improperly raised new claims, were too late under filing deadlines and had insufficient evidence to back up their claims.
State attorneys also pointed out that while Edwards' trial lawyers argued he wasn't the shooter, jurors were instructed that the Texas law of parties — which makes non-triggermen equally culpable — also made Edwards eligible for a capital murder conviction.
The late appeals were "a bold-faced, last-minute attempt to inundate the court with a large amount of information, much of which is misrepresented or incomplete, in the hopes of obtaining a stay of execution," Jaclyn O'Connor Lambert, an assistant Dallas County district attorney, said in a court brief.
At the time of the killings, Edwards, the father of four, was on parole. He was released in October 1999 after prison time for car theft and possession with intent to deliver cocaine. He had only one more month remaining before his parole would have been completed.
Evidence showed two men walked into the Subway store in Balch Springs, about 15 miles southeast of downtown Dallas, shortly after it opened on July 8, 2002. Goodwin and Walker were each shot in the head at close range as the place was robbed. Walker, an ordained minister, had seven children and stepchildren. Goodwin was mother of two daughters.
People in an adjacent dental office in the shopping strip heard the gunshots and called 911. Police responded in time to see two men running away, and an officer saw one of them throw something into a trash can across the street. It later would be identified as the murder weapon, a .380-caliber semi-automatic handgun.
Edwards was caught and arrested nearby. An audio recording in the police car caught him lamenting over his accomplice not following his instructions, and that he wished he'd removed his shirt so he couldn't be identified. He also said that he had messed up "big time," using a vulgarity repeatedly to say that now he had two murders. Edwards' comments were inconclusive, his attorneys said.
The second man, his cousin, Kirk Edwards, turned himself in to police a day after the shootings. He had previous convictions and prison terms for burglary and theft and now is serving 25 years for aggravated robbery for the sandwich shop case.