Families clash at New London murder arraignment
Family members of David Carson Edwards and shooting victim Joshua Fine clashed Tuesday when Edwards was arraigned in New London Superior Court on charges connected to Fine's death.
"Fry him!" shouted a member of Fine's family following the brief hearing before Superior Court Judge Ernest Green Jr. Members of Edwards' family responded as marshals ushered both groups out of the courtroom. The fracas continued outside the Broad Street courthouse briefly before the two families left in separate directions.
The arrest warrant affidavit detailing the New London police case against Edwards is sealed for at least two weeks. City police said they arrested the 39-year-old at his apartment at 4 Steward St. on Monday evening and charged him with murder. Edwards still was wearing his street clothes — jeans and a T-shirt — when he appeared before the judge.
Green set Edwards' bond at $1.5 million, ordered the case transferred to the "Part A" court, where major crimes are heard, and set May 15 as the next court date.
Edwards is accused of fatally shooting Fine, 27, of New London in the chest during an early morning melee on April 2 near the American Legion on Garfield Avenue. A resident told The Day he heard a ruckus outside about 12:30 a.m. that day. He said when he looked through a window, he saw six to eight men fighting across the street. The man said the fight seemed to be dying down when he heard "a couple of gunshots."
Police said they were called to the scene at 1:04 a.m. and found Fine lying on the ground with a gunshot wound. First responders administered first aid and took Fine to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled that Fine died of a gunshot wound to the chest and that his death was a homicide.
Fine was one of nine children, according to a family member.
Edwards, also known as "DC Edwards" and "Jerzey," has a previous conviction for first-degree assault in New Jersey, according to a bail commissioner. He has six convictions in Connecticut dating back to 2010 that include possession of narcotics, interfering with police, driving while his license is suspended and evading responsibility.
Public Defender Sean F. Kelly argued for a reduced bond of $500,000. Kelly said he read the arrest warrant, which was unsealed for lawyers only, and that some witness statements "don't jibe." He said a witness who was interviewed initially didn't mention until a second interview that Edwards was in possession of a gun.
"There was nothing found on my client at the time," Kelly said. "My client was not arrested at the scene."
Once the case gets to the Part A court, Edwards and his attorney will decide whether they want a probable cause hearing, at which the state must prove it has enough evidence to prosecute him for murder. Edwards is entitled to the hearing under state law because he faces the possibility of 60 years in prison, which is considered the equivalent of a life sentence.
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