UPDATE, FEB. 10, 11:30 A.M.: It took a long time to bring "Radio" Raheem Abdul Edwards to justice for his role in the shooting-murder of liquor-store owner Haeng Shin Kim in Anaheim back in 2000.
It took two days for a jury to convict the 30-year-old.
Edwards, whose case was featured on TV's America's Most Wanted while he was still on the lam, was found guilty of one felony count of special-circumstances murder in the commission of robbery and burglary.
He faces a sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole at his hearing scheduled for March 4 in Santa Ana.
ORIGINAL POST, FEB. 8, 7:56 A.M.: "Radio" Raheem Abdul Edwards--who is tied to a murder in New York City and tried to mask his identity by frequently changing names and gnawing off his fingerprints--finally faces trial in Santa Ana this morning for his role in the 2000 shooting-murder of a Korean-American liquor-store owner in Anaheim.
Thanks to the persistence of cops throughout the country, Edwards could be going away for life.
The 30-year-old faces life in prison without parole if convicted of one felony count of special-circumstances murder in the commission of robbery and burglary.
Just before 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 15, 2000, two men wearing gloves and hoodies walked into Lucky Seven Liquor Mart in Anaheim, where 57-year-old store owner Haeng Shin Kim was working behind the counter. The whole encounter was captured on store surveillance cameras.
The pair put several items on the counter before one walked to the back of the store. As Kim followed him, the second man left the store, returned and pulled a gun from his waistband.
Kim then struggled to get away, running toward the front of the store, but the gunman fired one shot into the owner's back. As Kim was on the floor and trying to crawl away, he was shot execution-style in the back of the head.
The other bandit went to empty the cash register, and the gunman watched the door. When a customer pulled into the parking lot, the pair fled.
Anaheim Police released the store video to the media, and that produced calls that identified 30-year-old Robert Quenton Feeney as the gunman and Edwards as his partner. But there was not enough evidence to arrest them, and under clouds of suspicion, both fled the state.
Following the cross-country investigations that finally resulted in the pair's capture is fascinating (hat tip to America's Most Wanted).
Feeney moved to Brooklyn, New York, where he went by "Bobby Two-Shots" because he killed Kim with two shots. But he did not fit in well there. After getting beat up in a mugging, he relocated to Dubuque, Iowa, where he was later convicted of rape and had to register as a sex offender.
He skipped town, but detectives from New York and Dubuque learned he had family in Independence, Missouri. They checked to see if police knew him there. They did--he was an informant.
When Independence police held Feeney on the Iowa parole violating, they discovered Anaheim detectives were on their way to question him about the liquor-store murder. Feeney went on to not only confess, but also give up Edwards. He said they robbed the store because they needed money to buy Christmas gifts.
Feeney's arrest--he was later sentenced to life without parole in June 2008--allowed authorities to release Edwards' juvenile fingerprints with his arrest warrant. Turns out he'd been hopping the country as well.
He was wanted for a July 4, 2004, murder in New York City, where he accompanied one of his friends seeking revenge from a beating. But the beater was gone. Edwards, who apparently had to kill someone, whipped out a gun and fired several shots at an innocent young man passing by, Daniel Springer, according to police. Four bullets went into Springer's back, and he died at the hospital.
Edwards later surfaced in Scranton, Pennsylvania, riding in the back seat of a car pulled over for swerving. As the driver was being arrested for DUI, a cop asked for the other occupants' IDs. Edwards handed over a New York license with the name Lamesh Maxwell, but the mugshot was scratched off. He told the officer his girlfriend got mad and defaced it, but the cop did not believe him. So, he handed over a different license, this one bearing the name Jayvana Waters.
Now the officer wanted the mystery man's fingerprints--at the police station. There, the suspect seemed fascinated--and edgy--by the fingerprint process, biting at his scarred fingertips as he awaited his turn to press the ink.
Years of chewing off his fingertips were not enough to stop Scranton cops from getting a hit in the national database, identifying him as Raheem Abdul Edwards, wanted for murders in Anaheim and New York. But that hit came a couple of weeks after Edwards was released. He was long gone again.
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It was believed Edwards headed for Brooklyn, but a tip later came that he also knew people in Detroit, Michigan. Big Apple detectives, working with the U.S. Marshal's Office, later got an address--and arrived there as Radio Raheem was fast asleep.
Edwards was extradited from New York to Orange County in July 2009--a little lighter in the fingers.
The Orange County district attorney's office statement on the case follows on the next page:
February 7, 2011
MAN FACES TRIAL FOR EXECUTION STYLE MURDER OF ANAHEIM LIQUOR STORE OWNER
SANTA ANA - A man faces trial tomorrow for his role in the shooting-murder of a Korean-American liquor store owner while burglarizing the store. Raheem Abdul Edwards, 30, is charged with one felony count of special circumstances murder in the commission of robbery and burglary and faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole if convicted. Opening statements are scheduled to begin tomorrow, Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2011, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-30, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
Co-defendant Robert Quenton Feeney, 30, (Case # 04NF4355) was found guilty by a jury April 22, 2008, of murder and the sentencing enhancements for murder during the commission of robbery and burglary were found true. He was sentenced June 13, 2008, to life in state prison without the possibility of parole.
At approximately 9:25 a.m. on Dec. 15, 2000, Edwards is accused of going with Feeney to the Lucky Seven Liquor Mart in Anaheim wearing hooded sweatshirts and gloves. The store owner, Haeng Shin Kim, 57, was working behind the counter. The defendants put several items on the counter and Edwards is accused of walking away to the back of the store.
The victim followed Edwards to the back of the store and Feeney walked outside. Feeney then re-entered the store and walked to the back toward Edwards and the victim.
Once at the back of the store, Feeney pulled a firearm from the waistband of his pants. As Kim struggled to get away and began to run to the front of the store, Feeney shot the victim one time in the back. The victim fell to the ground and tried to escape by crawling to the door, but Feeney walked up behind the defendant and executed him by shooting him in the back of the head.
Edwards is accused of then stealing money from the cash register as Feeney watched the door. A customer pulled into the parking lot and the defendants fled the scene. The customer found the victim and called 911, but Kim was pronounced dead at the scene. The murder was captured on surveillance cameras from the liquor store.
On Dec. 3, 2004, Feeney was arrested in Independence, Mo., on a probation violation related to an Iowa sexual assault conviction. Detectives from the Anaheim Police Department interviewed Feeney in Missouri and the defendant was brought back to Orange County to face charges.
Edwards was charged as a fugitive on Dec. 13, 2004. He was extradited from New York to Orange County on July 30, 2009.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Susan Price of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case. Senior Deputy District Attorney Howard Gundy of the Homicide Unit prosecuted Feeney.