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A man in Georgia will spend the rest of his life behind bars after he was convicted of murdering his own mother and his pregnant wife, as well as killing the couple's unborn child.
Johnny Edwards IV pleaded guilty but mentally ill to two charges of malice murder and one count of feticide for the 2019 murders of his mother, Dr. Kathy Edwards, 57, and his wife, Venus Quanteh, 31, who was five months pregnant with the couple’s child, according to the Atlanta Constitution-Journal. As part of Monday’s plea, prosecutors dropped two counts of felony murder in the case.
For his crimes, he was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.
“This case is truly heartbreaking and horrific,” said District Attorney Marie Broder, according to The Citizen. “The family members in this case lost a mother, a grandchild, a wife, and so much more. This is a just sentence for such a heinous crime, as the defendant cannot hurt anyone else.”
The investigation began on Dec. 7, 2019, when Johnny Edwards, then-34, called 911 to report that he had just killed his wife and mother at his parents’ Fayette County home, according to ABC Atlanta affiliate WSB-TV. Johnny Edwards’ father was out of town at the time of the attack; the 34-year-old man and his wife had been living at his parents' home.
“Yes, I killed my mother and my wife,” said Johnny Edwards, according to 911 transcripts. “I’ll be outside.”
The blood-soaked killer opened the door to arriving deputies, who then found Quanteh and Kathy Edwards dead on the floor in an upstairs bedroom.
Lying between the two women was a bloody baseball bat. A steak knife, which had also been used in the attack, was found on a bathroom floor.
“Venus had a fractured skull, cuts to her head, a stab wound to her cheek, a stab wound to her left shoulder, and cuts to her fingers,” said District Attorney Broder. “Kathy had a fractured skull, cuts on her scalp, a cut on her nose, and stab wounds to her neck.”
The unborn child did not survive the attack.
The double murder shocked the community, who knew Dr. Kathy Edwards as a physician who worked out of Peachtree City. They also knew Johnny Edwards as a star football player who had attended Starr’s Mill High School. According to the Citizen, he was an honor roll student named one of Georgia’s Top 50 football players before even graduating high school.
Questions about Johnny Edwards’ mental health were raised during a bond hearing on Dec. 19, 2019, when he made bizarre statements about the United States having no jurisdiction over him and refused legal counsel. He also repeatedly stated his name was Sidi Muhammad ibn Abdallah.
When asked by the judge if he wanted to represent himself, the defendant refused to acknowledge either his legal name or the court's jurisdiction.
“Respectfully, Sir, I would like to state for the record, on the record, that I am Sidi Muhammad ibn Abdallah. That I’m here under the treaty of peace and friendship. And that you can only hold the body up to a year,” said Edwards. “I am not tribunal property. I have no contract with you or your corporation or municipality.”
The motive behind the murders was never revealed.
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