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Cape man sentenced to 10 years

July 30, 2014
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

A Cape Coral man is serving time after being sentenced in an attempted murder case.

Jonathan Baer Edwards, 30, of 4904 Vincennes St., Apt. 107, pleaded guilty in April to one count of attempted second-degree murder with firearm cause great bodily harm. According to records, Lee Circuit Judge J. Frank Porter sentenced him to 10 years in prison, followed by 10 years of probation.

The Cape police recently released a prepared statement on the sentencing.

Article Photos

Jonathan Baer Edwards

"We are heartened by the outcome of this case, where a dangerous individual such as Edwards will be off the streets of Southwest Florida for the next decade," Sgt. Dana Coston stated last week.

Edwards is currently incarcerated at the South Bay Correctional Facility in Palm Beach County.

Defense attorney Brian Bieber, who is based out of Miami, represented him in the case.

"From the beginning of the case, Mr. Edwards maintained that he was acting in self defense," Bieber said Tuesday in a telephone interview. "At no point in time was he the aggressor in the incident."

"Mr. Edwards was clearly guilty of being in the wrong place at the wrong time," he said.

At about 10:30 p.m. Aug. 31, two men in a car pulled into a car port at 505 S.E. 47th Terrace and Edwards got in the back seat. Officials reported that Edwards pulled out a handgun on the driver and passenger, Jamar Lee Martin, 20, and a struggle ensued. Edwards then fired the gun several times.

Two of the bullets struck Martin - one in the face and the other in the shoulder.

"The tragic and near lethal incident occurred all because of the attempted purchase of a small amount of marijuana," Bieber said.

All three men exited the car, according to records. Edwards and the driver fled on foot, while Martin stumbled to the 500 block of Cape Coral Parkway and flagged down a motorist, who called police.

Martin was transported to the hospital, where he was treated and later released.

"While Mr. Edwards clearly acted in self defense and could have pursued that avenue at a jury trial," Bieber said. "He chose the more practical resolution of entering the plea, conserving a definitive amount of time in prison rather than risking spending the rest of his life there."

Assistant State Attorney Abraham Thornburg handled the case.

"Based upon the facts and circumstances of the case, and everything learned during depositions, this was an appropriate and fair resolution for both the defendant and the state," Samantha Syoen, spokeswoman for the State Attorney's Office, said Wednesday.

After the shooting, Cape police released a composite sketch and received multiple tips identifying Edwards as the shooter. One tip placed Edwards in the area at the time of the shooting, officials said. He was seen driving away from the area in a reckless manner, hitting bushes and damaging his car.

An eye witness identified Edwards from a photo lineup as the shooter.

In last week's statement, Coston acknowledged the role the public played in the case.

"We are also thankful for the public's assistance in this apprehension," he said. "The quick response to police calls for tips in this case was of tremendous assistance."

On Sept. 3, Edwards was observed running a stop sign. During a traffic stop, a K-9 alerted to narcotics and he was arrested for drugs health or safety possess harmful new legend drug without prescription.

Edwards was taken to police headquarters for questioning about the shooting.

He was later charged with homicide murder dangerous depraved without premeditation.

"Mr. Edwards is looking forward to closing this horrific chapter in his life and beginning the next phase of his adult life when he is released from prison," Bieber said.

Edwards is tentatively set to be released in August 2023, according to records.



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