Crime

Suspect In 40-Year-Old Cold Case Found Hiding In Woods

| by Kathryn Schroeder

The suspect in a 40-year-old Texas cold case has been arrested in Wayne County, Mississippi.

In 1976, Rene Anthony Guillotte, 28, was stabbed to death after leaving a bar in Houston at around 1 a.m., Harris County Senior Deputy Thomas Gilliland said, according to The Clarion-Ledger. On a private oilfield road, Guillotte's naked body was found with multiple stab wounds and lacerations on his head, neck and torso.

No suspect had been named in Guillotte's murder until the Cold Case Unit reopened the case and the investigation in July 2014 and found physical evidence recovered during the autopsy with DNA linking David Lee Edds, 61, to the murder. Edds had lived close to where Guilotte's body was found.

In 1977, police charged Edds for assaulting a man with a knife. He has a long criminal record that includes homicide, burglary, robbery and various drug, alcohol and weapons charges.

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When police interviewed Edds in 2017, he said he did not know Guillotte, had not been to the crime scene and had no knowledge of the murder. When asked why physical evidence tied him to the case, Edds was unable to answer.

Edds fled Texas for Mississippi, where he reportedly has family. Authorities found him in a pup tent in the woods on April 27.

Wayne County Sheriff Jody Ashley said a team of SWAT deputies, U.S. Marshals, and Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks rangers worked together to apprehend Edds.

"I just prayed that none of my guys would get hurt and that this guy wouldn't get hurt," Ashley said. "We let the neighbors know what we were doing, and that we'd be holding a perimeter until we got him."

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Ashley was on the phone with Mississippi Highway Patrol regarding a helicopter when his men went in for Edds.

"I heard the command of, 'Show me your hands,'" he said. "I'm on the phone with MHP, and I say, 'Hold up, we've got him,' then the call comes in that he's under arrest."

Edds appeared to be asleep when officers approached his tent. There was a knife in the tent with him, WDAM reports.

Ashley believes Edds was familiar with the area he was hiding out in.

"I want to think he's been to this deer camp," he said, according to The Clarion-Ledger. "When I pulled up, I told the marshals he had to have been involved in this deer camp. There's no doubt he didn't just pull up there. He's been there before."

The apprehension of Edds occurred within one week of a warrant being issued for his arrest in connection with Guillotte's murder, according to WDAM.

"A murder warrant, as old as this case is ... we were glad that we could apprehend him this morning and get this under wraps, because this area we went in to was not an easy area to get into," Ashley said.

Edds will be extradited to Texas.

Sources: The Clarion-Ledger,  WDAM / Photo credit: GarrettTT/Flickr

By running, did Edds prove his guilt?
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