Sex offender caught again

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 26, 2007


Joe Earl Edwards stood before District Judge Bob Armstrong showing no emotion, looking down at his shackled wrists Friday morning as investigators testified about his Thursday capture and the events leading to it.

Edwards was appointed Selma attorney Blanchard McLeod to represent him in the alleged attempted abduction of a 10-year-old who he said “waved back” as he passed her standing alone waiting for her school bus.

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Armstrong said he considered Edwards “a danger to society” and ordered him held on $500,000 bond for enticing a child for immoral purposes.

The parents of the 10-year-old were brought to tears as they watched proceedings.

The child’s mother cried at times uncontrollably, seated with her husband a few feet away from the convicted pedophile who came within five feet of abducting her daughter.

The father of the child stared at Edwards throughout the proceedings.

The judge called it “a pretty extreme case.”

“I do believe you are a danger to this community,” Armstrong said. “It’s for the grace of God we’re not standing here on some other horrendous charge.”

Edwards, 52, served about a year in jail for the 1994 arrest of the sexual assault of a 10-year-old niece. McLeod said his client had been employed at Miller Lumber Company.

John Oxford, who represented the prosecution during the bond hearing, argued Edwards needed to be kept behind bars.

“Pedophiles, I don’t think, can ever change,” Oxford told the court. “They’re very predatory. It’s a deep down sickness. There’s an element there that they can’t control themselves.”

District Attorney Michael Jackson said his office is attempting to make sure people who commit crimes against children are kept behind bars.

“We’re going to declare war on these child molesters,” Jackson said.

John Halford, Dallas County sheriff’s investigator, testified Edwards told authorities he saw “a blonde, pretty girl and he wanted to ask her on a date.” Halford testified Edwards told investigators he got off from his job at 6 a.m., went to his sister’s home where he had breakfast, showered and was headed home toward Plantersville when he saw the young girl.

Investigators said Edwards rode by the area “six or seven times” thinking the girl would come back. He reportedly told deputies what he meant by “a date” was he “wanted to have sex with her.”