The attorney for the man whose death sentence was commuted to life in prison Friday, days before his scheduled execution, says he wants to see his client exonerated.
Kimber Edwards had been scheduled to die by lethal injection Tuesday at the prison in Bonne Terre for hiring a man to kill his ex-wife. Orthell Wilson was convicted of carrying out that murder by shooting Kimberly Cantrell twice in the head in her University City apartment on August 22, 2000. Governor Jay Nixon (D) on Friday commuted Edwards’ sentence to life in prison without parole.
One of Edwards’ attorneys is Jeremy Weis, who says he’s pleased by the decision but still wants more for Edwards.
“I don’t think the work is done on the case,” Weis told Missourinet. “As cases get closer to an ultimate execution date some people do come forward and some information that maybe you didn’t know or people may be more willing to talk as it gets towards the end. Some of that has come forward.”
Wilson, who said in 2000 that Edwards hired him to kill Cantrell, has since recanted that statement and now claims Edwards had nothing to do with the crime. Weis says that isn’t all that has “come forward.”
“Orthell was certainly the primary driver in the prosecution of Mr. Edwards,” said Weis. “Also the testimony of [Wilson’s] brother, Hughie. I don’t want to say much more about that, but I do think there will be more coming forward in the future related to this case, because I don’t think it’s over.”
“I don’t think this is the end. I don’t think this should be the end. I don’t think he deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison because I think he deserves the opportunity to prove that he didn’t have anything to do with the murder of Miss Cantrell,” said Weis.
Any further effort on Edwards’ behalf won’t come immediately. Weis says he must shift his attention to his next case.
“I represent Ernest Johnson, and he is scheduled for execution on November 3, so my focuses will now turn to him at least in the foreseeable future,” said Weis. “But I think over the course of the next few months we’ll continue to work with Mr. Edwards on his defense and see what we can get done.”
Earlier story: Missouri governor’s commutation cancels execution set for next week