By Raymond L. Daye
Donnie Edwards, the last of five people involved in the disappearance of Jessica Guillot, pled guilty to simple kidnapping this past Tuesday and was sentenced to five years in prison.
District Attorney Charles Riddle said Edwards is believed to have been coerced by others to participate in the crime. By pleading guilty, Edwards avoided going to trial, which was about to begin when he decided to plead guilty, Riddle noted.
Riddle said Edwards’ had a much less extensive criminal record than the other participants in the case.
Three other men -- Asa Bentley, Chadwick McGhee and Willie Price Jr. -- have been convicted at trial. Bentley and Price were convicted of 2nd degree kidnapping. McGhee was also convicted of simple kidnapping. All three were deemed “habitual offenders” and given hefty sentences.
The other suspect in the case, Tamika Williams, was given a plea bargain deal in exchange for her testimony against the four men.
Ms. Guillot has not been seen since she left her house on foot on Sept. 6, 2013.
Authorities and family members have said they believe she is dead. Riddle has said that if/when Ms. Guillot’s body is found, his office will review the evidence to determine whether additional charges will be brought against any or all of the participants.