Deputies: St. Augustine man kills estranged wife, himself

St. Johns County deputies say Kathy and James Edwards died in murder-suicide

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – A St. Augustine man shot and killed his estranged wife and then turned the gun on himself late Thursday afternoon at an apartment complex on Carter Road, the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office said. 

Deputies responded about 5:30 p.m. to Apartment 1 at the complex, just west of the St. Augustine Shores neighborhood, after receiving a 911 call from a neighbor who reported hearing a gunshot. 

"I swear to God, I just heard a gunshot come out of unit No. 1, and they've had police over there multiple times in the past couple weeks, and I swear to God that's what that was. I was just out front getting a delivery of pizza and everything and, I swear to God, I heard a gunshot," the caller said. "Like, I'm shaking. I know what I heard, you know what I'm saying? It's like one of those that got me nervous."

Two people with at least one gunshot wound each were found inside the residence, deputies said. 

Kathy Edwards, 53, was pronounced dead at the scene. James Edwards, 57, was transported to an area hospital, where he later died. 

Detectives said the preliminary investigation revealed that the couple was estranged and Kathy Edwards had possession of the home where the two were found. 

The neighbor who called 911, David Blevins, recounted to News4Jax on Friday the moments leading up to the call, when he saw James Edwards.

"“He was just like an eerie calm. He was like, 'Hey man, call 911.' I was like, 'Jimmy, what’s going on?' He started cursing and I started cursing at him, Blevins said, "(I said), 'What happened man?' He was like, 'Go inside and call 911.' So I started dialing 911, and not soon as I put the food on the table, 'Bang.' I heard him shoot himself.”

The district medical examiner's office conducted autopsies, which found the cause of death of both people was gunshot wounds to the head, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Kathy Edwards' daughter told News4Jax that her mother and her stepfather, James Edwards, had been married for three years, but that her mother had filed an injunction against him. 

"You cannot find a more kind, nice person in this world. They broke the mold when they made a woman like this. There is no doubt in my mind, no one deserves to be known like this. I was with her the day before yesterday. We had a great time riding bikes -- it doesn't get any nicer than that. That's why I wanted everybody to know, you can't have anyone nicer in your world, in your life, than this woman right here," said David Wilson, Kathy Edwards' brother. "Now, she's taken from everyone. No one deserves this."

Wilson said Thursday night that his sister feared for her life. 

"She had been with me for days. she had been staying in a hotel in Jacksonville, where I live, because she was scared to come home in St. Augustine," he said. 

Court records show that between June 2016 and January, Kathy Edwards filed a dissolution of marriage from James three times, only to have them dropped. On two occasions between, December 2015 and April 7, Kathy Edwards petitioned for an injunction against her husband on allegations of domestic violence. 

The executive director of the Council on Aging, where Kathy Edwards worked as a nurse, released the following statement:

"As you can imagine, we were shocked to learn of Kathy Edwards death last night. Kathy was a valuable and much-loved member of our team and we are all so deeply saddened.

"Kathy was a very giving person who made a tremendous positive impact on the lives of the elders she served in the COA Sunshine Center adult day care and their families and caregivers. She was a bright light in the lives of many, many people in our community and the world is a poorer place today without her."

Detectives said they continues to investigate the murder-suicide. 

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