A Buckhannon man, who is active in many community organizations, vowed to fight extradition back to Texas on a 10-year-old charge he claimed he never knew existed.
Richard Wayne Edwards, 47, of 43 South Florida St., was arrested Wednesday on a fugitive of justice warrant from Bexar County, Texas, that states Edwards was indicted in April 2002 on a charge of possession of marijuana between 4 ounces and 5 pounds. Bond was originally set at $120,000 by Upshur County Magistrate Mike Coffman.
Defense attorney Steven Nanners, however, argued the amount of bond was "excessive and unreasonable, " adding that Edwards was not a risk to flee from prosecution.
"The indictment was returned without my client having previous knowledge," Nanners said. "This warrant is 10 years old, and no action has ever been taken. My client left Texas and moved here. He has been residing next to me for the past eight years. He's been paying taxes. It's not like he's been hiding. He goes to (Prosecuting Attorney Jake) Reger's church. He has been an upstanding citizen. He has three children, and it's Christmastime."
Upshur County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Keadle lowered the bond to $50,000 cash or surety and a $10,000 personal recognizance.
Edwards has been involved in many local governmental boards, including the county's Parks and Recreation agency, and has been doing the camera work at county commission and Buckhannon City Council meetings for the local public access channel.
Reger was ordered to contact the local prosecuting attorney's office in the San Antonio area to see if authorities there want to pursue the case. Keadle continued the extradition hearing until 1 p.m., Jan. 4. If Texas officials wish to have Edwards answer to the charges, then they must work through the governor's offices in both Texas and West Virginia as part of the extradition proceedings.
The Jan. 4 hearing is not one to determine if Edwards is guilty or innocent of the allegations, but only to determine if the Edwards listed on the Texas indictment is the same one arrested in Buckhannon.