Accused killer William ‘Polo’ Edwards called witness in upcoming murder trial more than 600 times from jail, state says

Circuit Judge Faye Peterson wouldn’t rule out allowing individual calls during trial, but ruled it inadmissible for now because of looming trial date
Accused killer William ‘Polo’ Edwards called witness in upcoming murder trial more than 600 times from jail, state says
Published: Aug. 16, 2023 at 9:16 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - In the fourteen months William “Polo” Edwards has been incarcerated at the Rankin County Detention Center for murder, he’s called the state’s key witness more than six hundred times, according to Hinds County Assistant District Attorney Gwen Agho.

The woman, Shadow Robinson, will likely be the most powerful witness in the state’s case against Edwards, charged with first-degree murder for killing 45-year-old Robert Davis in May of last year.

“The defendant is reaching out to a witness, the main eyewitness in this case, and speaking to her about the char - the case. And I believe of those calls, approximately 669 of them are the defendant calling the witness from jail,” Agho told the court.

Testimony had revealed Robinson might have had a relationship with both men.

It’s unclear what the nature of those calls was at this point, Agho said because they’re still combing through more than a thousand calls and hundreds of texts obtained from the detention center, not all of which were sent to Robinson.

Edwards’ attorney Tom Fortner argued those calls should not be admissible because an investigator first handed them over Tuesday, six days before trial.

Circuit Judge Faye Peterson said the information, first made public Wednesday during a pre-trial hearing, will not be introduced as a whole in Edwards’ murder trial because the jury trial itself will begin in the next five days.

She did, however, reserve the right to consider individual calls if they’re presented by the state.

“I will tell you the one thing that concerns me about both of these items of evidence is that most defendants are advised if they use those phones, they are subject to being recorded,” Peterson said.

Fortner told Judge Peterson he wants a Ridgeland police officer not specifically named on his witness list to testify, too, but not to the killing in this case.

Fortner wanted the officer to share his knowledge of Robinson’s 2001 manslaughter conviction, but Peterson said she would not allow that.

Two motions from the state aim to keep other information out, too, that they say could prejudice a jury against Robinson.

One involved items found in her home the day of the shooting.

“Police went to the scene of a homicide. They searched the residence where the homicide occurred,” Fortner said. “They found some marijuana residue. They found nine-millimeter ammunition. Nine-millimeter bullets were used to shoot this man. [They found] a ski mask and the credit card and social security card of some other individual or individuals, and multiple iPhones in Mrs. Robinson’s home.”

Assistant District Attorney Brad McCullouch said the information found was not relevant and rejected the notion that the bullets had any relevance to Davis’ killing.

“The type of ammunition recovered in the house was not the type of ammunition that killed the victim, and the fact that the defendant stays at this house and frequents this house, all of this stuff easily could have been his,” McCullouch said.

Jury selection is expected to begin Monday in the case.

Both sides estimate the trial could take two weeks due to the number of witnesses involved and the extensive voir dire process to weed out jurors who may have been influenced by social media.

Before his arrest, Edwards was perhaps best known for his work as a radio and Facebook personality known as Polo and the Cipher. He specialized in tearing others down, particularly those in public office.

On Wednesday, many of those he targeted - including former Hinds County District 2 Supervisor David Archie - sat in silence during the pre-trial hearing.

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