In Abernathy case: Lawyer agrees to stipulation

The Sentinel-Record 5-11-1978

SHERIDAN – Hot Spring County Prosecuting Attorney John Cole Wednesday said he has agreed to a stipulation concerning evidence he plans to present in the first-degree murder trial of Hot Springs Police Lt. Thurman Abernathy.

Abernathy is charged in the 1976 death of Garland County Sheriff’s Deputy Linda Edwards, whose skeletal remains were found scattered over Jack Mountain in Hot Spring County several months after her disappearance.

Early last month Cole indicated a hearing would be held to determine the admissibility of certain statements Mrs. Edwards made before her death. However, he said since then he has entered a stipulation with Abernathy’s attorney, Jack Holt, Jr., of Little Rock, therefore eliminating the necessity for the hearing.

Cole said he hopes to present the stipulation to Hot Spring County Circuit Judge Henry B. Means today.

“He will rule on the admissibility of it before we go any further,” said Cole. “That is a judicial decision and up to him to make.

“We plan for it to (go to trial). We want it to. We wouldn’t have filed charges if we didn’t feel the people of the state of Arkansas deserved to try this man.”

Cole said he and Holt would like to try the case some time next month but a definite date has not been set.

The case had been set for trial twice earlier this year but was continued each time.

Mrs. Edwards was reported missing Aug. 22, 1976, when she failed to return to her babysitter’s home to pick up her children. The woman’s locked car was found on Highway 290 shortly after the search for her whereabouts began.

She was reportedly about four months pregnant at the time of her disappearance.

A group of wolf hunters discovered Mrs. Edwards remains in February, 1977, on Jack Mountain, just inside the Hot Spring County line, and Abernathy was arrested about four months later.

Abernathy, who is free on $50,000 bond, has been suspended from the police department, pending the outcome of the case.

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