Accused Killer Fingered In Another Chilling Double Murder

William (Billy) Lavaco
William (Billy) Lavaco
Judith Straub
Judith Straub

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(WOIO) - An Akron man who is being held in Wisconsin on murder charges for a 1980 double-homicide is being investigated for another double-homicide that occurred in 1977 at Silver Creek Metropolitan Park in Norton.

Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh and Norton Police Chief Thad Hete released information on Tuesday pertaining to the investigation with the hope that members of the public who remember something about this crime will step forward.

Walsh said, "In 1977, Judith Straub and Billy Lavaco were shot to death in Silver Creek Park. It has been an unsolved murder for all of these years. An investigator from my office and a detective from the Norton Police Department traveled to Wisconsin last week and obtained a statement from Edward Wayne Edwards, 76, that incriminates him in this murder. We are sending evidence to BCI&I to corroborate his statement, but are seeking assistance from the public for any additional evidence."

On August 8, 1977, the bodies of William (Billy) Lavaco, 21, of Doylestown and Judith Straub, 18, of Sterling, were found in the park. Both had been shot point-blank in the neck. There is no statute of limitations for murder charges in Ohio.

Norton Chief Thad Hete said, "The Summit County Prosecutor's Office and the Norton Police Department are jointly investigating this case and are reaching out to the community for help. If anyone has any information on this crime please contact the Norton Detective Bureau at 330-706-0084 (extension 28 or 37)."

Walsh said, "At this time, we are continuing our investigation and reviewing our options for charges. We are also communicating with the Wisconsin District Attorney's Office about Edwards' trial to determine when their proceedings will likely be finalized."

Edwards is scheduled to be tried on murder charges in Jefferson, Wisconsin on June 14, 2010 for the slayings of Kelly Drew and Tim Hack, both 19, whose bodies were discovered in a corn field on August 8, 1980. The two had attended a wedding reception before their disappearance. Edwards was a handyman at a building adjacent to the hall. Kelly Drew was raped and strangled and Tim Hack was stabbed. Edwards was arrested in Louisville, Kentucky, on the case after his DNA matched semen found on the girl's underwear.

According to Edwards' book, he was in and out of prison numerous times for robbery, thefts, and arson, including having robbed an Akron bank. He was at one point on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list. He was sentenced to federal prison in 1962, but was released early (in 1967) for good behavior. Edwards married a University of Akron student, Kay Hedderly, in the late 60's and had three children. The family moved every few years and is known to have lived in Florida, Arizona, Colorado, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, Oklahoma and Kentucky.

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