Skip to comments.[N.C.] Court officials cover up Ten Commandments as trial begins
Posted on 02/03/2004 6:01:51 AM PST by Constitution Day
Court officials cover up Ten Commandments as trial begins
The Associated Press
February 3, 2004 7:29 am
NASHVILLE, N.C. -- Attorneys in a capital murder trial are squabbling over a cover-up of the Ten Commandments displayed on a wall at the Nash County Courthouse.
After a request from the defense team, Superior Court Judge Quentin Sumner ruled on Monday the two panels that show the Ten Commandments will be covered for the duration of Andre Edwards' trial. The order upset prosecutors.
"We understand the constitutional separation of church and state, but the next thing they'll be asking for is that the Bible be removed from the courtroom when witnesses come up to testify," said Assistant District Attorney Keith Werner.
"If we're going to be covering them up for this trial, we should be covering them up for every trial."
Defense attorneys Sam Dixon and Tommy Moore filed a motion last week, requesting that the judge have the panels covered. Dixon argued that the displays should be covered to provide his client with a fair trial, especially considering that Edwards could be sentenced to death if he is convicted.
"This is the most important of all trials -- one in which the state is looking to take a man's life from him," Dixon said.
On Friday, county maintenance workers covered the displays, which were painted about 90 years ago on each side of the judge's bench. Sumner said his decision was based partially on avoiding an appeal in the case.
"This trial is the state versus Andre Edwards, not the state versus the Ten Commandments or the country versus the Ten Commandments," the judge said.
Jury selection also began Monday and was expected to last two weeks. The entire trial could run as long as eight to 10 weeks, court officials said.
Andre Edwards, 34, is charged with abducting Ginger Hayes and her 18-month-old baby in June 2001 from outside the store and forcing her to drive to a remote area. Along the way, he forced the woman to withdraw cash from a teller machine in Rocky Mount
Police said Edwards raped the woman and beat her to death with a tire rim and left the baby boy for dead. Nicholas Hayes, now 4, suffered severe sunburn in 90-degree heat but did survive.
Authorities tracked Edwards through his use of the ATM card.
Jeremy Hayes was driving his wife and son from Myrtle Beach, S.C., back to their home in Hampton, Va., when he went into the CVS store for snacks. But when the Air Force staff sergeant came outside, his car and his family were gone.
URL for this article: http://www.heraldsun.com/state/6-442591.html
State 'opposes these types of shenanigans'By J. Eric Eckard, Rocky Mount Telegram
NASHVILLE Andre Edwards' capital murder trial started Monday in Nash County with a cover-up.
Not your typical conspiracy theory, but a literal cover-up of the Ten Commandments that are emblazoned on the walls of the Nash County Courthouse.
Edwards, 34, is charged with the kidnapping, rape and murder of 23-year-old Ginger Hayes in June 2001. He faces the death penalty if convicted.
After a request from the defense team, Superior Court Judge Quentin Sumner ruled on Monday the two panels that show the Ten Commandments will be covered for the duration of Edwards' trial much to the displeasure of the prosecution.
"The state vigorously opposes covering of the Ten Commandments," said Assistant District Attorney Keith Werner. "We understand the constitutional separation of church and state, but the next thing they'll be asking for is that the Bible be removed from the courtroom when witnesses come up to testify.
"That's how absurd this type of motion is. It's a travesty to take these kinds of steps. The state vehemently opposes these types of shenanigans."
Werner also called the defense's request "a flagrant interpretation of the law."
"If we're going to be covering them up for this trial, we should be covering them up for every trial," said Werner, who is prosecuting the case along with Assistant District Attorney Charlene Coggins-Franks.
Edwards' defense attorneys, Sam Dixon and Tommy Moore, filed a motion this past week, requesting that the judge have the panels covered.
Dixon argued that the displays should be covered to provide his client with a fair trial, especially considering the possible penalty if Edwards is convicted death.
"This is the most important of all trials one in which the state is looking to take a man's life from him," Dixon added.
On Friday, county maintenance workers concealed the displays, which are located on each side of the judge's bench and painted about 90 years ago.
Sumner, who admitted that the decision was based partially on avoiding an appeal in the case, called the cover-up a "pre-emptive matter."
"This trial is the state vs. Andre Edwards, not the state vs. the Ten Commandments or the country vs. the Ten Commandments," the judge added.
In addition to this hearing, jury selection also started in the Edwards trial.
Nearly 300 prospective jurors filled out questionnaires and then were divided into smaller 25-member panels. Each panel is expected to return to the courthouse over the next couple of weeks for attorneys to consider each potential panelist as a member of the final jury.
Authorities charge that Edwards carjacked Hayes and her baby in June 2001 from a CVS pharmacy in Greenville, drove to Rocky Mount and forced the woman to draw out cash from an ATM. Afterward, Edwards took Hayes and the then 18-month-old baby to a remote spot in Nash County, raped and beat the woman to death with a tire rim and left the boy for dead, authorities charge. The baby, Nicholas Hayes, now 4, survived 90-degree heat in just a diaper, but suffered a severe sunburn.
Authorities were able to track Edwards through his use of the cash machine.
The state shouldn't be involved; they should simply turn this guy over to Jeremy Hayes.
That is an insult to the digestive systems of eels.
Yeah. We've got it - and we've got lawyers who obstruct justice, too.
I'm currently reading David Limbaugh's book: Persecution: How Liberals Are Waging War Against Christianity. Very good book so far.
Sad how the incorrect interpretation of the Establishment Clause by the left and how they have "conveniently" forgotten the Free Exercise Clause is actually unconstitutionally supressing religious liberties.
Yes... it is called......
For much of those 90, if one were "offended" by The Ten, they'd exercise the good sense not to admit it in the company of predominately Southern or Free Will Baptists.
I'll be sure to post follow-ups on this as the trial progresses.
Judge Sumner is spineless. No doubt he is also a RAT, although the legislature conveniently went to non partisan elections when the tide started to change
I do not think it is a CYA situation. We do have a conservative, GOP controlled NC Supreme Court. No doubt in my mind that they wouldn't overturn a jury decision on this ground.
Shame on the defense attorneys. What a lame motion to make. They should be sanctioned.
CD, does the local media say that this is the Sam Dixon from the Edenton, Elizabeth City area? If so, I"ll have something to say.
What a disgusting crime.
Sumner is registered "unaffiliated", how convenient.
Re: the non-partisan judicial elections, have you seen the commercial with former Govs. Hunt and Holshouser exhorting us to support public financing for judicial candidates?
Don't know if this Sam Dixon is the one you refer to.
The latest news about this story doesn't say.
I seem to recall someone by that name running in the Dem. primary for Clayton's 1st Dist. seat, now held by Ballance... am I wrong?
I need to FRmail you; will try to do so this morning.
The guy you're thinking of who ran for Congress is Sam Davis, who runs a hardware store.