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N.Y. man faces setback in fight against extradition in murder case

February 27, 2012|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY — A New York man fighting extradition from the United Kingdom to Washington County on a 2006 murder charge sustained a setback last month when the European Court of Human Rights ruled he would not be subject to “inhuman and degrading treatment” if he were returned to the United States.

Joshua D. Edwards, 24, whose last address was Brooklyn, N.Y., was indicted in October 2006 in the July 23, 2006, shooting death of Jackson Agustin Rodriguez. He also was indicted on a charge of  attempted murder in the shooting of Tony Perry in a Washington Gardens apartment. A warrant was issued for Edwards’ arrest, court records show.

Edwards has been held in the United Kingdom since January 2007, and the British Secretary of State in June 2007 ordered Edwards’ extradition, the statement said.

On Jan. 17, the European Court of Human Rights, based in Strasbourg, France, issued a press release stating that a seven-judge panel ruled unanimously that the extradition order would not be a violation of Edwards’ rights. However, the British government was instructed not to extradite him until the ruling is made final or it is referred to the court’s Grand Chamber for further consideration.

That occurs within three months of the Jan. 17 ruling, the release said.

“We are ready, willing and able to prosecute him as soon as he lands on our shores,” Washington County Deputy State’s Attorney Joseph Michael said Monday.

Edwards’ case was joined with that of a British citizen, Phillip Harkins, who was fighting extradition to the United States in an unrelated 2000 killing in Florida, the release stated.

“As regards Mr. Edwards, he faced — at most — a discretionary life sentence without parole ... the court concluded that such a sentence would not be grossly disproportionate,” the release stated. In Edwards’ case, U.S. officials had “provided assurances that the death penalty would not be applied,” it said.

The court first ruled in 1989, in a case in which the United States sought extradition of a murder suspect from the United Kingdom to Virginia, that it “could only be lawful if the United States were to give absolute assurances that he will not be put to death if convicted of the crime he is charged with.”

“Mr. Edwards was accused of having intentionally shot two people ... who had allegedly made fun of his small stature and feminine appearance,” the release said, citing the “principal facts” of the case.

Another man, Olusegun Hakeem Ogundipe of New York City, was convicted in 2008 of first-degree murder and attempted murder in the same incident for which Edwards was indicted, Washington County Circuit Court records show. He is serving a life sentence, court records show.

Steven Ramel Broadhead, a witness in Ogundipe’s trial, testified he was held at gunpoint while Edwards shot Rodriguez and Perry, The Herald-Mail reported at the time. Broadhead testified that he, Rodriguez and Perry took $10,000 in cocaine from New York to Hagerstown to sell.

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