NASH COUNTY, N.C. — Jurors in Nash County say a man accused of kidnapping, robbing, raping, and murdering a woman is guilty of first-degree murder and all other charges in the case.
Prosecutors say Andre Edwards kidnapped Ginger Hayes and her baby from a Greenville parking lot on June 30, 2001. They say he then raped Hayes and beat her to death with a 30-pound tire rim in a Nash County remote field.
Hayes' baby survived the incident despite being severely sunburned while he was left in the field.
Defense attorneys argued Edwards should have been found guilty of second-degree murder and should not face the death penalty because he was an abused child who suffers from severe mental disorders and that he admitted his guilt.
Members of Hayes' family said the jury made the right decision and justice was done.
"I'm just relieved that the first part is over. I'm extremely happy that they found him guilty of both felony and premeditation," said Jeremy Hayes, Ginger's husband.
"I'm hoping for the death penalty. It's the only way that we can be absolutely sure that this man will never be able to have the chance to do this again," said Walt West, Ginger's father.
The Nash County jury had been deliberating since the end of closing arguments Monday.
Jurors will return to court Wednesday for the sentencing phase of the trial. Edwards now faces either life in prison or the death penalty.