Annapolis man gets 30 years for killing mother of his 3 girls

April 09, 2003|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

An Annapolis man who prosecutors said strangled the mother of his three daughters because she rejected him and who then pawned the dead woman's rings for drugs pleaded guilty yesterday to second-degree murder in an arrangement that gave him 30 years in prison.

As two families wept on opposite sides of an Anne Arundel County Circuit Court room, Howard Alexander Jr., 34, said through sobs, "I turned myself in because I was sorry from the minute I'd done it," and asked for forgiveness.

Prosecutors described Alexander as a violent man who had choked two other women - a wife and a girlfriend, neither fatally - before Sept. 7, when he killed Paula Lynn Edwards, his high school sweetheart, with whom he had had an on-and-off relationship for more than 15 years.

Assistant State's Attorney Anne Colt Leitess told Judge Philip T. Caroom that Alexander was asked to move from the home of an Annapolis woman and "was essentially at the end" when he accused Edwards, a bus driver, of not letting him see his children, although he had seen one of them two days earlier.

"I choked Paula until she stopped moving," he said in a statement to police. "When Paula stopped moving I realized what I had done. I stayed there for about 30 to 40 minutes to see if she moved. I kissed Paula on the forehead and then picked her body up."

He then dumped her body in a water-filled container on his grandmother's nearly abandoned property, where the killing took place, according to his statement.

"He took [Paula Edwards'] rings and he pawned them for $15 and he went and smoked crack with it," Leitess said.

The murder left the victim's mother, retired elementary school teacher Betty J. Edwards, 65, to care for the three children, ages 2, 5 and 15.

"There has not been time for me to grieve because I have to be strong for these girls," she wrote in a letter to the judge. "I can lie in my bed at night hearing cries from the other room because they miss their mom."

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