Update: Convicted Killer Back In Court

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A convicted killer was back in court Thursday. Christoper Edwards, sentenced to 100-years-to-life for killing Jessica O'Grady, wants a new trial.

O'Grady's family members tell WOWT 6 News that they knew the process of appeals would carry over for a number of years. Shawna Stanzel, Jessica's aunt, has always believed the evidence will hold up, but they still have one request for Edwards. "Tell us where the body is!" O'Grady's body was never recovered.

The post-conviction hearing focusing on two things mandated by a Nebraska Supreme Court ruling in September 2012: to examine whether Edwards was denied due process by the state's knowing use of fabricated evidence to obtain his conviction and that his trial counsel labored under an actual conflict of interest.

In 2012, the Supreme Court took up 21 issues from the defense on appeal and denied 19 of them.

For example, the Supreme Court rejected post-conviction relief when it came to the charge that the counsel was ineffective regarding change of venue for not getting DNA experts to support a theory of a miscarriage, for not investigating theories that O'Grady had contacted a travel agent and may have left on her own and for not offering more of a defense regarding the existence of alternative suspects.

Attorney Steve Lefler took the stand first thing Thursday morning. He represented both David Kofoed in the planting evidence case in Cass County and the Federal Civil Rights Case. He also represented Edwards in the second-degree murder trial.

Kofoed, a former Crime Scene Investigator for the Douglas County Sheriff's Department took the stand just after 4 p.m. Thursday. Kofoed spent several months in prison as a result of his conviction. He currently lives in North Carolina.

Douglas County Sheriff Tim Dunning -- Kofoed's former boss -- testified after the lunch.

The state's argument is that the Murdock case of witness tampering only surfaced publicly after Christoper Edwards' murder conviction.


Christopher Edwards

O'Grady was 19 years old when she disappeared in 2006. A year later, a jury found Edwards guilty of second-degree murder.

The 27-year-old Edwards traveled to the Douglas County Courthouse from the state prison in Tecumseh. He looks considerably different than his last court appearances with long hair and glasses.

Edwards is represented by Jerry Soucie and Brian Munnelly. The state is represented in court by Katie Benson and Matt Kuhse with the Douglas County Attorney's Office.


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