Teenager Falls from Moving School Bus
North Miami Beach Part of Legal Defense Team Which Helps Young Man Wrongly Accused of Murder As A Teen Receive Justice
Tyler Edmonds was 13 years old when he was charged with 1st degree murder of his half sister’s husband, Joey Fulgham.
Tyler was convicted in July of 2004, with no forensic evidence other than a false confession he made after his half sister begged him to lie for her. Tyler recanted the confession a couple of days later.
In January 2007, the Mississippi Supreme Court overturned the conviction of Tyler, agreeing that Dr. Stephen Hayne, who performed the autopsy on Joey Fulgham, reached beyond his area of expertise when he stated that two people pulled the trigger of the 22-caliber rifle used to kill Joey Fulgham. The rifle was never recovered.
Even though the Supreme Court found that Dr. Haynes’ testimony was scientifically unfounded, it carried a heavy weight with jurors.
The Mississippi State Attorney insisted on trying 13- year old Tyler twice after the Mississippi Appeals court overturned his first conviction.
“As a child advocate for several years, I must say Tyler’s prosecution is another sad example of America’s justice system losing sight of what justice is suppose to be when children are suspected or accused of crimes. Children are not adults and need not be destroyed in the name of vengeance, the way this boy’s life almost was.” said John Osborn from New Jersey.
But that all changed just a couple of weeks ago when Tyler was found not guilty in the murder of his half sister’s husband, ending a tragic 6-year ordeal.
Cari Barichello, Co-Administrator of the nationwide online children’s advocate group justiceforjuveniles.org said “To say we are extremely pleased over the not guilty verdict today is an understatement to say the least. Tyler has remained one of our largest priorities since his nightmare began at age 13, because we believed that Tyler was a victim of Kristi Fulgham just as Joey was.”
Donna Gallegos of justiceforjuveniles.org said “This is a joyous day for Tyler and those who love and support him.” Gallegos says Justice for Juveniles is extremely grateful to Jim Waide and Victor Fleitas of Waide and Associates in Tupelo, by providing his expertise to the defense team who never gave up and fought a long hard battle to prove Edmonds innocence. Without the assistance of The Innocence project of Mississippi, Amy Singer, CEO and founder of Trial Consultants Inc. a Fort Lauderdale Florida Jury Consulting firm, Radley Balko senior editor of Reason magazine and Reason.com and many others, Tyler would be spending his entire life in prison for a crime he did not commit.
Tyler’s half sister, Kristi Fulgham was convicted in December 2006 for Joey Fulgham’s murder and sentenced to death. She now sits on Death Row.
“We must remember Tyler’s case the next time we hear that there is a juvenile who has admitted to committing a crime when there is no attorney or parent present.”