Man convicted in case of NC 6-year-old girl who was abducted, left chained to tree

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) — A jury found Douglas Edwards guilty of several charges after he abducted a 6-year-old girl from her front yard and left her chained to a tree in September of 2016.

The jury, which took a little over four hours to reach its verdict, found Edwards guilty of attempted murder, statutory sexual offense, assault with a deadly weapon, kidnapping, and indecent liberties.

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During the week-long trial, the state called dozens of witnesses to the stand, who gave a timeline of the abduction, and described the little girl’s rescue from the woods off of River Road. The prosecution called witnesses who said it was possible that leaving the girl overnight could have killed her, and argued that by leaving her in the woods, that was Edwards’ intent.

EARLIER: Abducted 6-year-old NC girl found chained to tree; bond set at $9 million for suspect

The District Attorney said in his closing argument that Edwards had motive, opportunity and means to justify the attempted murder charge, and said that chaining her to the ground was tortuous. He asked jurors to find him guilty on all charges, which were:

  • Attempted first-degree murder
  • First-degree kidnapping
  • Two counts of taking indecent liberties with children
  • Statutory sexual offense with a child by an adult
  • Assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury
  • Felony intimidating a witness
  • Felony obstruction of justice

Attorney Ken Hatcher argued that there was no DNA evidence supporting a sexual assault, and said that what Edwards did was a “crime of opportunity.” When Edwards took the stand, he told jurors that the chain he used was from his moped, and that he intended to go back for the little girl to bring her food and water.

Edwards served a 16-year sentence for a 1994 sexual assault conviction. The 29-year-old victim in that case testified on Monday for the prosecution.

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