Wildsville man gets 25-years

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 16, 2001

VIDALIA, La. – A Wildsville man who pleaded guilty in June 2000 to fatally shooting another man over a small amount of deer meat and raccoon hides was sentenced to 25 years in prison Wednesday.

Harry Edwards, 45, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in connection with the January 1999 shooting death of Johnny Whitehead, also of Wildsville.

The plea was entered the same week that Edwards was scheduled to stand trial on a charge of second-degree murder in the case.

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Edwards shot Whitehead in the head with a pistol following an argument over a small amount of deer meat and raccoon hides.

Edwards’ attorney, Joel Higgins, said prior to the plea he planned to argue that Whitehead was high on crack cocaine at the time of incident and pointed a gun at Edwards, and that Edwards shot Whitehead in self-defense.

Two of Whitehead’s sisters, Dora Whitehead and Dianne Whitehead, said at the time of Edwards’ plea that they were not satisfied with the reduced charge of manslaughter and said they were not notified that the plea would be entered.

But Assistant District Attorney Madaline Gibbs said at that time that the plea came as a shock to everyone involved and Whitehead’s relatives were notified immediately after the plea.

Neither Dora Whitehead nor Dianne Whitehead could be reached for comment on Wednesday afternoon.