Man convicted in JSO officer slaying gets shorter sentence

Eugene Edwards' life without parole sentence changed to 45 years

Eugene Edwards gets a re-sentencing hearing in a 1993 Jacksonville cop killing.
Eugene Edwards gets a re-sentencing hearing in a 1993 Jacksonville cop killing.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A man convicted as a teenager in the slaying of a highly decorated Jacksonville corrections officer will no longer spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Eugene Edwards was one of five teenagers who rode up on bicycles in 1993 and tried to rob Tammy Johnson and her friend, who were sitting in a car outside a bar.

Johnson, a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office corrections officer, fired her gun and the teens shot back, killing Johnson and wounding her friend.

Edwards, who was 16 at the time, and two of the other teens were sentenced to life in prison without parole for their roles in the deadly shooting. But the Supreme Court has ruled that sentencing juveniles to life without parole is unconstitutional, prompting a review of the sentences.

During the resentencing hearing, the defense argued that Edwards has a low probability of reoffending if he were to be released and that his brain, as a teenager, wasn't fully developed when he committed the crime.

Prosecutors pointed out that Edwards has had multiple disciplinary issues while incarcerated and that he chose to bring a gun when he went out with his friends that night looking to rob someone.

The judge changed Edwards' sentence to 45 years in prison -- from the time of his conviction -- followed by 15 years of probation.

Thomas Thompson, another man convicted as a teen in the murder, is awaiting his resentencing.