The 1980 Tim Hack and Kelly Drew murders

Kelly Drew Photo by Sue

Photo by Sue

Edward Edwards, of Louisville, Ky., was arrested after DNA connected him to the unsolved murders of Tim Hack and Kelly Drew, who disappeared from a Wisconsin wedding reception in August 1980. Their bodies were found weeks later in the woods. Investigators believe Hack was stabbed and Drew strangled. Authorities said the state crime lab matched Edwards’ DNA to semen on Drew’s pants.

Hack’s father reported the couple missing on Aug. 10, 1980. They were last seen leaving the reception at the Concord House, a dance hall in Sullivan, a town about 40 miles west of Milwaukee, around 11 p.m. the night before. David Hack found his son’s car in the hall’s parking lot, still locked with his son’s wallet inside. Five days later, investigators found Drew’s shredded pants, panties, and bra in the road about three miles from Concord House. Tim Hack’s body was found in the same area the next day. A medical examiner found signs that Drew had been tied up and strangled, and her boyfriend had been stabbed.

District Attorney Susan V. Happ declined to comment on what led investigators back to Edwards, saying only that new evidence in the Tim Hack and Kelly Drew case had emerged since he was first questioned in 1980.

Tim Hack Photo by Sue

Photo by Sue

Edwards agreed to a plea deal earlier this month in which he admitted to both the Wisconsin murders and the killing of Judith Straub, 18, of Sterling, Ohio, and Bill Lavaco, 21, of Doylestown, Ohio. He shot each of them in the neck in a Norton, Ohio. He was sentenced to two life terms for those slayings and under a plea deal will first serve his prison time in Ohio. Ohio has the death penalty, but Edwards wasn’t eligible for it because a U.S. Supreme Court ruling invalidated the punishment between 1974 and 1978.

Now here’s an interesting twist in the story. In his AP interview last week, Edwards said he also wanted to confess to the fifth murder of Dannie Boy Edwards in 1996 so he could be sentenced to death in Ohio. Dannie Boy was his foster son. Edwards said that he lured Dannie Boy Edwards to a secluded cemetery near the family’s home in Burton in 1996. He said he pressed a 20-gauge shotgun to the man’s chest and pulled the trigger twice. It’s unclear if Edwards could receive the death penalty for that murder. To recommend a death sentence, Ohio juries must find offenders guilty of a serious secondary offense – such as rape, arson or aggravated robbery – in addition to aggravated murder. He has not been charged in Dannie Boy Edwards’ death.

Edwards spent much of his life running from the law, landing on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list in 1961. In his 1972 autobiography, “Metamorphosis of a Criminal,” he wrote he spent the 1950s and early 1960s drifting across the country, stealing cars, robbing banks and gas stations and seducing women he met along the way.

So, Edwards was sentenced to two life terms in Ohio. He will be sentenced later in Wisconsin for the other two murders. He must first serve his sentence in Ohio, where he won’t be eligible for parole consideration until he is 97. And he wants to get capital punishment in a fifth case…

That desire to confess in the case of his foster son combined with his age, his diabetes-ridden declining health, and his wish for capital punishment, make me wonder whether he is searching for a state assisted way out. I might be wrong but I can’t shake that thought.

Rest in peace Tim Hack and Kelly Drew.