Covering Louisiana

Oct 15, 2013 10:52 AM by AP (PHOTO: MGN ONLINE)

Last Angola 5 defendant sentenced to life

ST. FRANCISVILLE, La. (AP) - Barry S. Edge will serve life in prison for the murder of a Louisiana State Penitentiary prison guard almost 14 years ago after a jury deadlocked on whether to sentence the Angola inmate to death.

Edge, 53, was found guilty Saturday of first-degree murder in the death of Capt. David C. Knapps during a botched escape attempt at Angola on Dec. 28, 1999.

After deliberating for nearly four hours on Monday, The Advocate reports the jury was unable to come to a unanimous decision on whether to recommend the death penalty, which is required by law. Their vote for the death penalty was 9-3.

State Judge Jerome M. Winsberg declared a mistrial, which meant that Edge will serve life in prison for the murder.

Edge is the last of five inmates, known as the Angola 5, to stand trial in the death of Knapps during the failed escape attempt from the Educational Building of the Angola prison's Camp D.

Six inmates took part in the escape attempt, and one, Joel Durham, 26, was shot and killed when Angola security officers regained control of the building and freed two other employee hostages.

Edge is now serving a life sentence at Angola for the 1985 shooting death of Clifford Stover Jr. in Jefferson Parish.

Edge was convicted of striking the first blow against Knapps by slamming a hammer into his head before the other armed inmates stabbed and beat him in a Camp D bathroom.

The defense argued unsuccessfully that Edge did not intend to kill Knapps.

The jury was picked in St. Tammany Parish because the pool of potential jurors in West Feliciana Parish is small and many residents in the parish work at the penitentiary or have relatives who work there.

Other St. Tammany Parish juries gave the death penalty to co-defendants Jeffrey Cameron Clark, 53, and David Brown, 40. Another panel convicted Robert G. Carley, 45, of first-degree murder but could not unanimously agree on the penalty, resulting in Carley receiving a second life sentence.

Inmate David Mathis, 37, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and received a life sentence.

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