VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – A Virginia Beach mother told WAVY.com she felt relief on the day her son’s killer and former boyfriend was sentenced to spend the next three decades behind bars.
25-year-old Jerrell Edwards was sentenced to 30 years in prison Tuesday, a sentence recommended by a jury when he was convicted in 2013 of second degree murder and child abuse in the death of his girlfriend’s son.
“There were total acts of savagery inflicted on this child,” the judge said in court. “It’s horrible what happened.”
On April 5, 2012, 2-year-old Jaidan Lewis’ mother went to class, leaving him at home in the care of Edwards — just minutes away from her. When she returned, Edwards told her Jaidan was bleeding from the mouth and unresponsive. She called 911 while he performed CPR.
Edwards told police his watch cut Jaidan’s lip while changing his diaper, and he held his mouth under running water in the bathtub to rinse off the blood. But an autopsy revealed Jaidan’s cause of death was blunt force trauma to the abdomen; he had bruises and lacerations to tissue in his abdomen, intestine, pancreas, left lung, colon, face, head, rib muscles and lips. Abrasions to both cheeks had “pattern marks consistent with adult fingernail gouging,” according to Kristina Hopkins with the Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office.
In court, a prosecutor said on the day of Jaidan’s murder Edwards used spice in addition to abusing prescription medications.
Before he received his sentence, Edwards said he was sorry, that he was not a murderer and apologized to the family. But Jaidan’s mother, Laquita Lewis, expressed little sympathy.
“It could have all been prevented, and sadly, more than one life is gone. His is taken as well. That’s the price he has to pay for this, and I don’t feel sorry for him for that,” Lewis told WAVY.com.
The sentence has given Lewis some sense of closure: “Relief, and a sense of accomplishment — we finished it, we saw it through, and we got the justice we were so hungry for.”
“Then all of a sudden he’s gone and then you’re like, ‘wow, what now?’ What do you do now? I feel like I lost everything. I really lost everything. Still two years now, like it’s taken a toll on my life,” Vines said.
Hopkins also mentioned Edwards jailhouse interview with WAVY News’ Jason Marks about the incident not long after his arrest: “During the interview, Edwards made rambling statements about being the only adult home with Jaidan that night and apologized to Jaidan’s parents, although he never admitted to beating Jaidan.”
Edwards attorney told WAVY.com he will appeal the sentence handed down by the judge.