Last updated 10:03AM ET
December 16, 2017
Nebraska News
Nebraska News
Chris Edwards trial first week
(2007-03-23)
(NET Radio) - Since police investigators and the prosecution do not have the body of their murder victim, the first witnesses to take the stand late this week were called upon to carefully reconstruct Jessica O'Grady's last days and hours. They also had to put a human face on someone who can only be seen in photographs now.

Prosecutors established that O'Grady had a romantic relationship with the man accused of killing her 19-year-old Chris Edwards. He apparently believed she was pregnant. The state argues Edwards had earlier learned he would be a father, by a second woman. He became desperate enough to beat O'Grady to death with an imported sword.

Thursday afternoon, the impressive weapon allegedly used was dramatically brandished to a stunned jury by Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine. Edwards best friend testified it was the same sword he'd been shown a few weeks before the murder.

The defense team for Chris Edwards acknowledged their most daunting challenge will be reminding the jury that innocent before proven guilty is an important ideal in the justice system.
Defense attorney Steve Lefler told the court: My fear is this is like the wild, wild west first we try him, then we hang him. Most people will walk in and assume Chris Edwards is guilty.
The defense hasn't established a single alternate theory of the O'Grady murder. Instead it intends to challenge every single element of the State's evidence from the expertise of witnesses to raising doubts that O'Grady is even dead. During his opening arguments he declared "The State has to prove she's dead and that Chris had reason to kill her, I am telling you, they won't be able to do that."
That of course is up to a jury to decide.

To follow the case on Bill Kelly's daily trial blog, click here

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