Sentence overturned in stabbing case
February 28, 2005
The Indiana Court of Appeals has overturned the 40-year sentence given a man convicted of trying to kill an Indianapolis Star columnist.
A three-judge panel ruled today that the judge who sentenced Scottie R. Edwards erred by considering facts not decided by the jury and sent the case back to Marion Superior Court for resentencing. The ruling let stand Edwards' conviction on a charge of attempted murder.
The decision was the latest in a series of reversals in Indiana and across the nation resulting from a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last June that juries -- not judges -- should consider factors that can add years to defendants' prison sentences.
Today's ruling was the appeals court's second in the case involving the February 2001 stabbing of newspaper columnist Lynn Ford. The Court of Appeals reversed Edwards' original conviction and ordered a new trial, which was held in December 2003. Edwards was again found guilty and sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Ford was 43 when he died of a heart attack in February 2002. At the time of the attack, Ford wrote a column about minority issues and was the newspaper's assistant arts and entertainment editor.
Edwards is the ex-husband of a woman whom Ford had been dating for about two weeks before the attack outside Ford's apartment building in which he was stabbed 10 to 12 times.
Ford's right lung was pierced in the attack, and he was hospitalized for five days. He had worked at the Star since 1984.