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Judge Charlie Smith, D.A. Kassie Coleman talk about guilty verdict in shooting trial

Updated: Jun. 20, 2022 at 6:00 PM CDT
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - More than two years after a local judge was shot in Meridian, the suspect has been convicted of attempted capital murder. The trial took place last week in Oxford. Judge Charlie Smith and District Attorney Kassie Coleman are reacting to the trial.

“I was just relieved and glad for it all to be over with.” Judge Charlie Smith said.

It was the morning of March 16, 2020, when Judge Smith was getting out of his truck and heading into the courthouse and was shot.

Ernest Edwards was arrested almost exactly one year after the shooting.

“Ultimately, we learned that the defendant, Ernest Edwards, confessed to family members that he did shoot the judge,” Coleman explained. “Law enforcement was able to track down the gun that was used and track down the person that purchased it and gave it to Ernest Edwards.”

Through the trial, the jury learned that Smith was not the intended target, the bullet was meant for Judge Charles Wright.

“In January of 2021, law enforcement received some information that Judge Wright was the intended target,” Coleman said. “It was the result of representation of a client that he had when he was still doing defense work prior to going on the bench. It actually had nothing to do with either one of them serving as a judge.”

The high-powered rifle round struck Smith in the abdomen. Deputies immediately tended to Smith who was taken to Jackson for treatment. Smith underwent multiple surgeries and was eventually able to return to work.

“Most of the time you can’t see a limp or anything. Every now and then, if it swells up too much, I might have a limp. I’m doing good. I’m doing really good,” Smith said.

Edwards was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

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