‘Forced to be violent’: Defense attorney in ‘Polo’ Edwards trial questions state’s star witness by bringing up her manslaughter conviction

Edwards’ use of phones for Facebook Live hits could be his downfall as GPS data suggests he was in Clinton at time of killing
Published: Aug. 24, 2023 at 7:26 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - After nearly causing a mistrial Wednesday with an emotional outburst, Shadow Robinson resumed her testimony in the murder trial of William “Polo” Edwards and faced tough questions from Edwards’ attorney, who brought up her 2001 conviction for killing her ex-boyfriend.

Edwards is charged with first-degree murder for shooting and killing 45-year-old Robert Davis.

Attorney Tom Fortner peppered Robinson with questions about that emotional day and her connection to Edwards.

Robinson said she and Edwards had a purely sexual relationship, but she did not have one with Davis.

Fortner asked her why she didn’t file charges against Edwards for stalking if he was really doing that.

She responded by asking who she would file a complaint to, recounting a time she blocked his phone and it only made him more obsessed.

Fortner, however, attempted to turn the tables on Robinson, suggesting more than once to the jury that she intentionally caused Davis’ death, in part, by pitting the two men against each other.

“Did you say yesterday - I wrote this down - there is nothing violent about you?” Edwards’ defense attorney Tom Fortner said.

“That’s correct. I’m not a violent person,” Robinson said.

“You’re not a violent person?” Edwards pressed.

“No. I’m not - unless you force me to be, I’m not. I protect myself. I believe strongly in self-defense,” Robinson said.

“You don’t do acts of violence... unless you’re forced to be violent, is that what you’re saying?” Fortner said.

Robinson agreed.

“Forced to be violent like you were in 2001,” Fortner said.

Robinson addressed that despite the state’s objection to Fortner’s response.

“That is correct. I was 6 and a half months pregnant. Don’t you ever forget that. He came to my house. I was 6 and a half months pregnant, high-risk pregnancy when I was attacked,” Robinson said. “Since you bringing up that charge, I want you to be completely honest about it.”

Media reports indicate Robinson killed Lennell Moore in Ridgeland, shooting him multiple times following a fight over visitation of their child.

Robinson mentioned that it was difficult to block Edwards’ numbers completely because he had so many phones.

Those very phones could help a jury find him guilty, prosecutors believe.

Following Robinson’s testimony, the state introduced Investigator John Chalk with the Madison County District Attorney’s Office, to show the court GPS data from cell phones associated with Edwards.

That data directly attacks the defense’s alibi that Edwards remained at his downtown Jackson home when the Clinton killing took place.

Cell tower data from different companies show that those phones stayed in Jackson until just after 5 p.m. the day of the shooting.

At 5:03 p.m., one phone was in the general vicinity of Interstate 20, between Jackson and Clinton.

At 5:05, two phones associated with Edwards were picked up by a tower less than a mile from the crime scene in Clinton.

At 5:09 p.m., another tower picked up one of his phones four streets over from the home.

Davis was killed approximately 4 minutes later, according to police reports.

“Would it be possible to be in Clinton, Mississippi, and be connecting to this cell tower in Jackson?” said Assistant District Attorney Brad McCullouch.

“I don’t - probability is practically zero,” Chalk said.

The data also shows those phones associated with Edwards traveled to Lexington, then down to New Orleans, where Edwards was later caught.

The defense went after Chalk, asking him about the reliability of the cell phone information from the provider and whether he knew how to triangulate that GPS information himself rather than use a software program.

The state has called nine of its 36 possible witnesses thus far.

Want more WLBT news in your inbox? Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

See a spelling or grammar error in our story? Please click here to report it and include the headline of the story in your email.