Ruling in Trial Of Policeman Bars Testimony

Publication Unknown  8-9-1978

MALVERN (AP) – The testimony of a woman who said Garland County Deputy Linda
Edwards was going to meet a Hot Springs policeman on the night she disappeared was ruled inadmissible Tuesday.

Circuit Judge Henry Means of Malvern made the ruling during a preliminary hearing in the case of Hot Springs Police Lt. Thurman Abernathy, who is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Mrs. Edwards.

The witness, Sarah Margaret Edwards, a friend of the dead woman, testified that Linda Edwards told her she was going to meet Abernathy on the night she disappeared. Judge Means ruled that the testimony was hearsay and could not be introduced to a jury.

Defense attorney Jack Holt Jr. of Little Rock filed a motion to suppress the testimony.

Called Inadmissible

Judge Means ruled that all testimony on conversations between the witnesses and Linda Edwards would be inadmissible.

After Judge Means’ ruling, Prosecuting Attorney John W. Cole of Sheridan said he would not call four other witnesses who he said would testify to basically the same thing as Sarah Edwards.

Cole said he would decide today whether he would ask for a delay in the trial, which is scheduled for Monday.

Linda Edwards disappeared August 22, 1976. Her skeletal remains were found in a heavily
wooded area of Hot Spring County by hunters in February 1977.                                     .

Abernathy is free on a $50,000 bond. He has been suspended without pay since June 1977 when he was charged with the crime.

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