Tyler Edmonds

Joey Fulgham was found shot to death in his bed in Longview, Mississippi on May 11, 2003.
 
When police questioned Fulgham’s widow, Kristi, she told them that her 13-year-old half-brother, Tyler Edmonds, had admitted to her that he shot Fulgham with a rifle.
 
Police brought Edmonds, along with his mother, in for questioning. At first, he denied any knowledge, but after police managed to lure his mother out of the interrogation room, they brought in Kristi Fulgham who confronted him and asserted that he had committed the murder. Edmonds then gave a video-taped confession in which he said that he and Kristi Fulgham had pulled the trigger at the same time. Several days later, Edmonds recanted the confession.
 
Edmonds was tried as an adult in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court.
 
The primary prosecution evidence was his confession and testimony from Steven Hayne, a medical examiner. Hayne said that based on the autopsy, it was far more likely that two people had pulled the trigger of the same gun only once and that therefore Tyler's confession was true.
 
In his defense, Edmonds testified that Kristi admitted to him that she had shot her husband on May 2, 2003 and that if she were to be convicted, she would get the death penalty. He said that Kristi told him that if he were to admit he acted alone, nothing would happen to him because he was only 13.
 
On July 24, 2004 Edmonds was convicted by a jury of capital murder and sentenced to life in prison. 
 
In January 2007 the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed the conviction on several grounds.  The court ruled that Hayne's testimony had been improperly allowed.  The court found that it was impossible for Hayne to determine how many fingers were on the trigger just by looking at the bullet wound.  Moreover, the court said the trial judge improperly excluded evidence that Kristi had been beaten and verbally abused because she had cheated on her husband, that she was the beneficiary of a policy on his life, that she had tried to get a pistol, and that she had told friends that she wanted to end her situation.
 
Edmonds was retried and acquitted by a jury on November 1, 2008 in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court.  He later filed suit against the county but the case was dismissed on November 30, 2010. 
 
Kristi Fulgham was convicted in late 2007 of the murder of her husband in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court and was sentenced to death. The death sentence was set aside on appeal because the trial judge improperly barred the testimony of a social worker on Fulgham’s behalf. On November 23, 2010 she was resentenced to life in prison without parole.
 
— Michael S. Perry
 

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Posting Date:  Before June 2012

 

State:Mississippi
County:Oktibbeha
Most Serious Crime:Murder
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:2003
Convicted:2004
Exonerated:2008
Sentence:Life
Race:Caucasian
Sex:Male
Age:13
Contributing Factors:False Confession, False or Misleading Forensic Evidence, Perjury or False Accusation
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No