Victims' families point to Raleigh murder suspect's violent past
Posted May 23, 2011 9:54 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — The parents of a 14-year-old girl who was shot six years ago by a man now facing a first-degree murder charge in the shooting death of a Raleigh pizza store owner said Monday that they believe the justice system failed them.
William Damieon Edwards, 43, of 7308 Great Laurel Drive, was charged with four counts of attempted murder after he fired an assault rifle into a car full of teenagers in August 2005, striking Amber Parker. Police said the shooting followed an argument over a football game.
Prosecutors and Edwards' attorneys struck a plea deal to drop the charges down to firing into personal property. He served four months of a nine-month sentence.
Parker's parents are now questioning why Edwards wasn't given a stricter punishment after they learned that he was arrested Friday in the May 19 shooting death of Jay Waheed Ammeri, at the NY Style Pizza restaurant at 7440 Louisburg Road.
"Because they couldn't prove intent, that he intended to hurt her, they dropped the heavy charges," said Pam Parker, Amber Parker's stepmother. "If they had handled it differently back in '05, this may not have happened."
Edwards was denied bond Monday.
In a statement, Ammeri's family said they hope he will face the death penalty.
"This ruthless and heartless monster has destroyed countless lives in the past and is no stranger to violence," cousin Waz Faizy wrote. "It is because of this long history of aggressive violence that the family is asking for the death penalty. Anything less is not acceptable. We do not want another family to suffer like we have been ever again."
Raleigh police have not offered a motive for the shooting.
Court records show that Edwards was acquitted of first-degree murder in 1989 and was charged with firing a gun into occupied property a year later. Those charges were dismissed.
Edwards' sister and several neighbors said they were shocked by the murder charges and described the suspect as a family man.