A Texas man “took matters into his own hands” after his ex-wife’s girlfriend broke his window, chasing them at high speeds down the highway before shooting his former partner dead and punching the other woman so hard she needed reconstructive surgery, prosecutors said.
Allen Dale Edwards, 44, was sentenced Tuesday to 46 years behind bars for the March 2016 murder of ex-wife Keyanna Gardiner, 29, according to Harris County Court records. He was convicted of murder after a jury trial on Oct. 31, but filed to appeal the decision on Nov. 3, per court records.
Per Texas law on aggravated felony firearm cases, he will be eligible for parole only after serving half his sentence.
Samone Massey, Gardiner’s romantic partner who was punched by Edwards after he took Gardiner’s life, told Fox News Digital she will “do whatever [she] can” to “make sure they don’t let him out before his sentencing is over.”
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“They have a right to appeal, there’s always appeals, but that doesn’t mean they’ll get out,” Massey said on Sunday. “Keyanna can’t come back… the media and everyone else doesn’t know what we’ve dealt with from this guy… I feel like he needs to be locked up a little longer than that.”
“Yeah, I broke a window,” Massey continued. “Do I feel like my actions on that night were right? No. But I didn’t kill anyone – he did.”
Edwards and Gardiner, who had two children together aged 3 and 5 at the time of the killing, had an “acrimonious relationship” exacerbated by child custody disputes, District Attorney Kim Ogg wrote in a press release Thursday.
The couple had been living apart for three years when the tensions reached their climax on March 19, 2016.
“Domestic violence can take a lot of different forms, but too often we see it escalate into murder,” Ogg said. “There is absolutely no reason this man’s ex-wife and the mother of his children should be dead.”
In August 2014, Gardiner was charged for trespassing on Edwards’ property, per a criminal complaint.
At the time, Edwards told a police officer that he “had been having problems with [Gardiner]… which included harassment, disturbances and criminal mischief… and that [Gardiner] had been given criminal trespass warnings on his property on two occasions.”
Massey, who was there at the time of the incident, per Baytown Police Department records, told Fox News Digital that Gardiner was trying to pick up belongings from the residence.
Gardiner was released on $500 bail, and the case against her was ultimately dismissed after she was convicted of misdemeanor theft for stealing two phones from Walmart in October 2014, per Harris County Court documents. Gardiner pleaded nolo contendere and served about 15 months of probation.
Meanwhile, per a letter penned to the court by Gardiner’s employer at Medical Plaza Mobile Surveillance, Edwards repeatedly placed calls to the woman during her work hours.
“After witnessing how upsetting and disruptive [Edward’s] calls were to Ms. Keyanna Gardiner, our supervisor and I began intercepting his calls… The calls started around the beginning of August 2013 and would range between 2 and 3 a week, sometimes multiple times a day.”
The taunting calls, sometimes made under false names to bypass employees’ attempts to keep him from reaching the woman, continued until at least February 2014, per the letter.
Gardiner was allegedly in the passenger seat minutes before her March 2016 death when her friend drove to Edwards’ home on the northern edge of the Galveston Bay in Baytown around 3 a.m., according to court documents.
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Massey picked up an aerosol can and swung it at Edwards’ window, breaking the glass. Prosecutors said Gardiner was asleep in the passenger seat when the glass smashed.
Earlier that night, Massey told Fox News Digital, she and Gardiner went to her cousin’s birthday party and then a bar. Although it is unclear who placed the first phone call, she said, she and Edwards began exchanging heated calls and texts reviewed by Fox News Digital.
“I was telling him that I wish he would leave us alone. I was saying some mean things… at the time, he was telling me ‘oh, come over here before I beat your head in – come get it,'” Massey recalled. “I made the stupid decision to go over there because I was fed up with what was going on. I was so upset, I went over there, I grabbed a can and I busted the window.”
Upon hearing the glass shatter, Edwards told his mother to call police, grabbed a handgun and rushed outside. As the women peeled away in their white SUV, the Baytown Police Department wrote in a press release at the time, Edwards gave chase.
The two cars raced down Highway 146 toward the Fred Hartman Bridge that leads from Baytown to the northern portion of neighboring La Porte. Edwards fired his first shot through the driver’s side window while the vehicles were still moving, prosecutors wrote.
Then, Edwards reportedly cut off the other car and stopped short, causing the two women to crash into the back of his car. The impact, Massey said, woke up sleeping Gardiner.
“He sideswiped us going under that light and pulled in front of us… it seemed like everything was in slow motion, yet going so fast… until he [got] out of the car with the gun,” Massey recalled.
Edwards’ next shot struck Gardiner in the chest, killing her immediately. He walked around to the driver’s side and punched Massey in the face, causing damage that had to be surgically repaired.
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Officers in the area almost immediately responded to the scene, per the police press release. Chaos unfolded in the minutes before they arrived, though.
A third vehicle crashed into the women’s vehicle, Baytown Police said. An uninvolved 50-year-old man, Marco Peralta, reportedly got out of his car to direct traffic around the wreck.
But 28-year-old Anthony Anatra did not see the good Samaritan in the road, reportedly striking and killing him at the scene. Anatra was later charged with a misdemeanor DWI, which was later upgraded due to an earlier drunken driving charge, police said.
Edwards was charged later that night, per Baytown police, and jailed in lieu of $50,000 bail, court documents show.
“He took matters into his own hands,” Assistant District Attorney Ashlea Sheridan said in court, local outlet Click 2 Houston reported. “He admitted that he was chasing them down, and he should have just let law enforcement handle it.”
The accused killer would plead not guilty in Harris County Court, per court records obtained by Fox News Digital. Although his initial court date was set for Sept. 25, 2017, his attorney Peter Justin filed multiple continuances, with jury lists for the defense and prosecution only established this October.
It was unclear why the case was delayed, and Fox News Digital could not reach Justin for comment at press time.
Dating back to 1999, Edwards had been charged with possession of marijuana six times and once for possession of a controlled substance, per a notice of intention to use prior convictions and extraneous offenses in court filed by prosecutors and reviewed by Fox News Digital. He had no previous record of violent crimes.
“Keyanna was actually a wonderful person, a smart, caring, loving person,” Massey told Fox News Digital. “She just wanted to live her life outside of that situation. She just wanted to be able to live a normal life like everyone else. That’s what she was trying to do, get out of that.”
Source: Fox News