Former Starr’s Mill football standout pleads guilty to murdering fetus, wife and mother

Johnny T. Edwards. Photo/Fayette County Jail.
Johnny T. Edwards. Photo/Fayette County Jail.

Johnny Edwards, IV, sentenced to life without parole — 

UPDATED — The former Starr’s Mill High School graduate accused of murdering his mother, his 5-month pregnant wife and his unborn child with a baseball bat and knife at his parent’s Highgrove subdivision home off Redwine Road home in December 2019 entered guilty pleas on two counts of malice murder and one count of feticide. Johnny Edwards, IV, on June 27 was sentenced to life without parole.

District Attorney Marie Broder said Edwards on June 27 entered a plea of guilty but mentally ill to two counts of malice murder, and one count of feticide, the murder of an infant in the womb. “He pled guilty to Count 1: Malice Murder, receiving a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole; Count 3: Malice Murder, life in prison without the possibility of parole concurrent to count 1; and Count 5 Feticide, life in prison concurrent to count 3,” she said. 

Senior Judge Arch McGarity accepted the negotiated guilty plea and sentenced Edwards to life in prison without the possibility of parole, Broder said.

“This sentence means he will never be released from prison,” said Broder.

Broder handled the case along with Senior Assistant District Attorney Dan Hiatt and Deputy Chief Assistant District Attorney Warren Sellers. The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case.

Citing the specifics of the case, Broder said, “On Dec. 7, 2019, at 2:29 pm, the defendant called 911 and advised that he had killed his mother and wife and would be waiting for law enforcement outside the family home. The Fayette County Sheriff’s Office responded. The Defendant (age 34 at the time of the incident) came out the front door of the home. He had blood on his ears, neck, arms, hands, pants and sandals.

“Upstairs in a bedroom to the right the defendant’s pregnant wife, Venus Quanteh, was located lying on the floor near the doorway in a pool of blood. Kathy Edwards, the defendant’s mother, was lying on the floor in a pool of blood near the bed. Venus had a fractured skull, cuts to her head, a stab wound to her cheek, a stab wound to her left shoulder and cuts to her fingers. Kathy had a fractured skull, cuts on her scalp, a cut on her nose and stab wounds to her neck. A blood-covered wooden baseball bat was located between Venus and Kathy. A blood-covered steak knife was located on the bathroom floor of the bathroom in that bedroom.”

Commenting at the plea hearing, Broder said, “This case is truly heartbreaking and horrific. The family members in this case lost a mother, a grandchild, a wife, and so much more. This is a just sentence for such a heinous crime, as the defendant cannot hurt anyone else.”

Broder thanked the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office for its work on the case.

“Without their thorough investigation, this plea would not have been possible,” said Broder.

As previously reported by The Citizen, Edwards in his high school football playing days as a three-year starter at Starr’s Mill High School just south of Peachtree City was listed as one of Georgia’s top 50 football players by the time he graduated in 2003.

According to a Wake Forest football article from 2005, Edwards had appeared on the Starr’s Mill Honor Roll and Principal’s List and was a member of the National Society of High School Scholars before his graduation.

At Wake Forest, Edwards majored in history. He was listed as the son of Johnny and Dr. Kathy Edwards with a brother, Trenton. At Wake Forest Edwards was red-shirted in 2003 as a true freshman, played in 10 games in 2004 and was listed as a returning starter in the defensive secondary for 2005.

Johnny Edwards’ mother, Dr. Kathy Edwards, was a physician practicing in Peachtree City. Her husband was not home at the time of the incident.

In a question and answer sidebar in the Wake Forest sports article, Edwards said his best non-athletic talent was “playing the piano.” Asked who he admired most, Edwards answered, “My parents.”