The trial of Joseph Edwards opened Tuesday in Harlan Circuit Court with the jury seated shortly after 11 a.m.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jonathan Lee opened the case for the state in front of Judge Robert McGinnis.
“Drug trafficking, paranoia, shots fired,” stated Lee in his opening argument. “That’s why we’re here.”
Lee told the jury two informants approached Harlan County Sheriff’s Deputy Danny Lewis and told him they could do a controlled drug buy on Ivy Hill.
According to Lee, informants purchased pills at Edwards’ residence on Meadow Drive on Nov. 30. Deputies secured a search warrant after the transaction was completed and a plan to execute the search warrant was put into motion.
Reserve Deputy Dexter Day approached Edwards’ Ivy Hill apartment in plain clothes and knocked on the door. When the door was answered, deputies shouted “sheriff’s office” as they surrounded the apartment, according to Lee.
Lee said Edwards fired on deputies before surrendering.
Lee said a neighbor heard deputies shout “sheriff’s office” before he heard knocking on the door.
“Joseph Edwards knew it was over,” said Lee.
Lee said once Edwards was in custody deputies executed the search warrant, finding drugs, money and ammunition.
“I ask you to return a verdict of guilty,” Lee told the jury at the end of his opening argument.
Edwards’ attorney, Doug Asher, opened his defense, asking the jury to “remember everything the prosecution just said.”
Asher spent much of his allotted 20 minute opening arguing that Edwards was unaware it was the police at his door that night.
Asher told the jury evidence will show Edwards knew nothing about a drug buy going on, and when he fired his weapon he did not know it was sheriff’s deputies at the door.
Asher said deputies did not properly execute the plan laid out for them by Sheriff Marvin Lipfird.
Asher additionally stated deputies may have fired first.
“It’s never too late to do the right thing,” Asher told the jury.
Lee called Lewis as the state’s first witness.
Lewis testified he was approached by two confidential informants, a husband and wife, and was told drugs could be bought from Lisa Farley at an Ivy Hill residence.
According to Lewis’s testimony, the serial numbers on the cash used were recorded so it could be traced later and a recording device was placed with the informants. Lewis said his case relied on the recording and the pills that were purchased to secure a search warrant.
Lewis testified under cross examination by Asher that the informants were paid $100 for their assistance with the case.
Lewis also testified the informants did not mention Joseph Edwards’ name when they said they could purchase drugs from Farley.
The trial is scheduled to continue at 9 a.m. today.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510, ext. 113, firstname.lastname@example.org