Edmonds, mother sue Oktibbeha for damages

OXFORD – Tyler Edmonds of West Point and his mother, Sharon Clay, want compensation for his wrongful murder conviction and years in prison.

Friday, they sued Oktibbeha County and asked for a jury trial on their complaint in U.S. District Court.

Edmonds was almost 14 when he was arrested with his half-sister, Kristi Fulgham, in the May 2003 shooting death of her husband, Joey.

An Oktibbeha County jury convicted him in July 2004, largely based on Edmonds’ recorded statements to the sheriff’s investigators.

But the Mississippi Supreme Court ordered a new trial in January 2007, saying the original trial’s judge committed enough errors to warrant it.

In an emotional week-long trial in the same courthouse last fall, a jury from Attala County acquitted him of the same charges.

His attorneys, Jim Waide and Victor Fleitas of Tupelo, convinced the jury that Edmonds had given a false confession to help the sister he loved and that he had not killed his brother-in-law.

Kristi Fulgham, 26 when she was arrested, was convicted in late 2007 and was sentenced to death. Her sentence has been stayed pending an appeal.

Edmonds and Clay cite substantial mental anxiety and stress because of his ordeal. Clay also cited her depression and financial losses because of his four-year incarceration.

They seek actual damages for attorneys fees and for their suffering from his wrongful arrest and imprisonment, citing violation of his Fifth and 14th Amendment rights to remain silent.

Their eight-page complaint says that while Edmonds was in prison, he witnessed violence and threats daily, and was denied any physical contact with family.

Edmonds and Clay also say they will make additional claims if the Legislature passes House Bill 621, which would provide state compensation for people wrongfully convicted and imprisoned in Mississippi.

Jack Brown, attorney for the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors, did not return a Daily Journal phone call for comment.

The case is assigned to Senior Judge Neal Biggers Jr. and Magistrate Judge Jerry Davis.

Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@djournal.com.

Patsy R. Brumfield/Daily Journal