By MARK Phillips
The Sentinel-Record 3-11-1977
The Hot Spring County prosecuting attorney said Thursday he has a suspect in the murder of Garland County Sheriff’s Deputy Linda Edwards, and that he expects to eventually have the evidence needed to file charges and win a conviction in court.
Prosecuting Attorney John Cole said that although authorities are still working on the case and will continue to do so until “we break the case and break it right,” he thinks enough evidence will eventually be found to win a conviction in court.
Cole said he may have enough evidence at this point, but will not be sure until he makes a thorough study of the case file “sheet by sheet to determine what we have and if additional investigation is needed.”
He said he requested some additional investigative work last Tuesday when he met with representatives of the Arkansas State Police at Troop K Headquarters in Hot Springs.
If those inquiries raise any questions additional work will be done, he said.
Cole said the case file is more than a foot thick and will require considerable time to examine.
However, he said he hopes to be able to make a decision regarding the filing of charges by sometime next week.
During his review of file, Cole will be organizing the evidence and looking for inconsistencies and new items for further investigation .
“We think we know who did it, but I won’t file charges until I know I can get the case to a jury,” Cole said. “I don’t want to see a direct verdict of acquittal from the judge. If I don’t think I can get a conviction, I won’t waste money on a trial. But given just a little time, charges will be filed. We have a suspect and will eventually have evidence to file and get a conviction.”
The prosecutor said sufficient evidence may already have been collected, noting that more than 100 persons have been questioned by authorities.
“We’ve got the evidence, but because of new rules which went into effect in July, we aren’t positive if some things are admissible or not admissible. The new rules open some doors and close others, and many questions have not been resolved in court,” Cole said.
Noting that the investigation is very close to completion, he said, “If we have not now broken the case, I just haven’t examined the files closely enough. We’ve got it. Now we just need to put it together, and we’ll go until the statute of limitations runs out or we get a defendant.”
Continuing, he said the commander of the criminal investigation division of the Arkansas State Police is in agreement and will continue the investigation until all necessary evidence is gathered, and he said, “That will happen.”