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Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014

McGee to enter the world again

Posted Friday, September 14, 2007, at 10:58 PM

Edward Joseph McGee. Some will remember the name. Even more will remember his offenses. We'll probably hear in less than two years he has completed his sentence for murders that shocked and broke the hearts of Shelbyville, Bedford County and other areas of the nation.

On the Sunday afternoon of Dec. 18, 1966, the lives of two little girls and McGee crossed paths. Cousins Phyllis Seibers and Deborah Ray, ages eight and nine respectively, went to the old city dump off Sims Road to look for discarded dolls. They failed to return home that fateful afternoon.

The following morning their bodies were found in a water-filled drainage ditch. Autopsies revealed both had died of blunt trauma to the head, possibly by a rock or some other object.

McGee was charged with their murders.

He stood trial for the murder of Phyllis Seibers in Circuit Court here before Judge William Russell in October, 1967. The jury found McGee guilty of first degree murder. He received a 99-year sentence.

Eddie is presently incarcerated at Northeast Correctional Institute Annex in Roan Mountain. As of last week his completion of sentence date was June 27, 2009. If he continues to cause no problems there his release date will be even before that time.

McGee was unable to cope with a normal life in 1966. After 41 years or so in prison what will happen when he is released?

A person at the prison told me last week Eddie is housed with other inmates. He has no visitors. One person familiar with the situation told me a few years ago there had been only one visitor during him time in prison.

Even before he came to our area and the Seibers-Ray murders occurred there were many red warning flags regarding McGee.

While in a church-sponsored orphanage in Kentucky, he was caught peeping into the girls dormitory and later went into the dormitory, stole their underwear and cut it up. This came out during his trial.

A psychiatrist, from Nashville as I recall, testified Eddie had been his patient. He told the jury McGee's IQ was somewhere between 70 and 80. He placed McGee's emotional age as somewhere between 10 and 12.

McGee was released from his care, hopefully to find some menial employment with supervision.

When Eddie completes his sentence he will be given clothing, money from his prison account and a bus ticket to where he is going to live.

A few years ago I heard he was going to live with a sister who resides in one of the western states.

McGee fell through all the cracks as a juvenile and young adult. Will those same cracks be awaiting him as a 60-plus year-old man?

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

It is unbelievable that they are releasing this man.

Don't hardly seem fair that he took the lives of not one small child but two yet he is allowed to be freed.

He has been in prison for 41 years so that means he really has never worked so Social Security won't be an option for him..so I assume he will get SSI meaning we the tax payers will continue to support this man..gee that seems fair, don't it?

-- Posted by Dianatn on Sat, Sep 15, 2007, at 12:39 PM

Seems to me that like Charles Manson who has spent most of his life in prison, he would be better suited and so would society to stay there.

It may cost us to keep him in , but the cost would be greater if he was to not adjust to societyonce he is out.

-- Posted by michaelbell on Sat, Sep 15, 2007, at 7:15 PM

Hmmm.. Let's see here. 99 years minus 41 years served equals 58 years yet to serve by my math. But then again the average working man's math doesn't do so well with the justice systems does it? This guy killed two little girls!!!! He should never experience the right to the same freedoms as those who do not commit such heinous acts. Justice my butt! Tell the families of these two little girls that justice has been served in this case!!! Everyone that thinks that this guy will not be a repeat offender raise their hands.........

-- Posted by rebel4ever37 on Sun, Sep 16, 2007, at 1:26 PM

They call it good time Rebel. Huge amounts can be chopped off a sentence. He's only been to trial on one of the deaths and got the 99 years. Extremely unlikely he could be be brought to trial for the second death now. What are your thoughts on good time? Kind of sounds like patting someone on the back for being a good murderer.

-- Posted by bomelson on Sun, Sep 16, 2007, at 3:15 PM

That's exactly what it sounds like to me!

-- Posted by LauraSFT on Mon, Sep 17, 2007, at 8:37 AM

Hello Mr. Melson,

"Good Time" to me is a simple formula. It equals can't get along in a productive society = can get along while incarcerated. Sounds like incarceration is in his and OUR best interest.

As for how I feel about good time credits, I would respond tha the state's conditional release program (good time law) is geared toward maintaining level prison populations, effectively making room for new prisoners, rather than turning out rehabilitated prisoners or protecting the rights of crime victims. Check the rescidivism rate nation wide. Those numbers speak for themselves. We turn criminals loose to warehouse others. It is a never ending cycle of an inept system whose hypocrisy knows no bounds....

-- Posted by rebel4ever37 on Mon, Sep 17, 2007, at 2:03 PM

Well stated Rebel. I talked with a former sheriff about the McGee incident last weekend and he recalled a man who was released on probation after a long stay in state prison. The man told him he liked prison life better than being outside and asked the sheriff to send him back. He informed the former inmate he couldn't put him in jail or send him back to prison unless he broke his probation.

The ex-inmate took care of that matter rather quickly. He broke a jewelry store window, grabbed a piece of merchandise and stood there until police arrived and arrested him.

-- Posted by bomelson on Mon, Sep 17, 2007, at 2:58 PM

Who was the sheriff back then when this happened? Anyone remember?

-- Posted by mmp84 on Mon, Sep 17, 2007, at 3:18 PM

David Williams was the former sheriff I spoke with last weekend.

Inmates wanting to stay in jail is not that unusual.

A couple of men who spent much time in the old Bedford County Jail used to make sure they had a place to stay in the winter months. Do you remember Bracey's Hardware? They once threw rocks through the window and took a seat on the curb outside. As I recall now it was a cold night in October. They had one complaint. Police didn't arrive quickly enough and they were cold.

-- Posted by bomelson on Mon, Sep 17, 2007, at 4:01 PM

If I still worked at the Times-Gazette I would contact Eddie McGee and seek permission to come up to the prison and talk with him.

I'd like to know if he has any fears pertaining to resuming life outside prison, where he intends to go if he is released and if he has attained any skills to enable him to make a living.

He was a young, dangerous animal when he committed the crimes in 1966.

Is he an old dangerous animal now?

-- Posted by bomelson on Mon, Sep 17, 2007, at 4:10 PM

The thing that bothers me about this is the fact he will be about 60 years old when he gets out. Never held a job, been in prison most of his life. Even if he did have any skills who in their right mind would hire this 60 year old child killer?

Who would take a risk of this man doing something else, maybe on the job or to one of their own children? I know for a fact, I wouldn't hire him to clean bathrooms.

The big question here is "After being locked away for 40 years how do they expect this man to live in the outside world with no skills and a prison record for murdering 2 children"

With No job, No money and No hope what will it cause this man to do in order to return to the only life he knows? Hopefully not murder again!

And How do the families of these children feel about him being able to walk free?

-- Posted by Dianatn on Mon, Sep 17, 2007, at 10:56 PM

I am Phyllis Seibers' sister and Deborah Ray's first cousin. At the time of their murder I was 14 years old. I am 54 now. There's not been a day that's gone by that our family has not talked or thought about them and what their lives would have been like if that monster hadn't murdered them. I think he should have been executed. We attended two parole hearings a few years ago, and he was denied. The last parole hearing he waived his rights and wanted to finish his time. He couldn't face us knowing he took the precious lives of my sister and cousin. He was only tried and convicted for one murder and received 99 years. My family attempted to have him tried for the second murder, but the district attorney at the time said all evidence was lost. Where Did It Go??? He will be released and probably kill again. Where is justice?? On behalf of the Seibers' and Ray family, I would like to thank Bo Melson for his support throughout the years.

-- Posted by mary37160 on Wed, Sep 19, 2007, at 10:23 AM

My name is Debra. I'm in the Seibers family. I'm 32 & I never got to know Phyllis or Deborah because McGee chose to take them from us. And I don't think he should EVER, EVER have a life outside a jail! He has destroyed so many lifes. Why put him back on the streets to take more lifes. What is WRONG with our justice system?? He was evil before he killed them & he is still evil! How many visitors in all these years? His Mom or sister never came to see him! Going to live with his sister( my tail) I'm sitting on mine! Tax payers will be giving him a house!

-- Posted by debo37160 on Wed, Sep 19, 2007, at 11:50 AM

I wish I knew what to say to you ladies to make you feel better but there are no words that could possibly come to mind that would ease your pain.

I do not understand how they can even consider letting this man go free.

And How on earth do they loose evidence?What more evidence would they need? he was convicted of killing one child. Why not the other?

-- Posted by Dianatn on Wed, Sep 19, 2007, at 2:18 PM

I'm glad the families can speak of their feelings in this blog and sincerely hope it hasn't brought another flood of bad and sad memories.

McGee once asked to talk with me before he went to trial. I wish I could remember how long before he went to trial, only that he was in the old Bedford County Jail in a downstairs cell facing toward what was then the sheriff's office.

He told me he had been "offered" 55 years. Of course he went to trial on one of the two murder charges, was really well represented by his court-appointed attorney, Thomas Wiseman, was found guilty and received a 99-year sentence.

I apologize to the Seibers and Ray families for bringing this matter up, but I honestly felt the public should know what may happen.

-- Posted by bomelson on Wed, Sep 19, 2007, at 2:45 PM

I totally agree with you Bo the public does need to be made aware of what is about to happen. Whether McGee comes back to Shelbyville or not, is irrelevant. He should not be let out into the general public, anywhere.

There is no statue of limitations on murder so I would definitely be finding me someone to make sure he is tried for the other child's murder. Evidence or No Evidence! The court records must still be somewhere.

Maybe if we all write to the prison board he will not be released?

I personally would be willing to help you in any possible way I could to make sure this man never sets foot outside prison walls as long as he lives.

Have you petitioned the board contesting his release?

Now please if you do not wish to discuss this any further or just feel it is none of our business ůsay the word and it will be dropped.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Wed, Sep 19, 2007, at 3:24 PM

I agree, the public should know this. You didn't bring up any memories that we do not live with everyday. We have petitioned the board many times and that's what's kept him there this long.I truly believe he would have been released if we hadn't. Thank you for concern. I appreciate the support you all have given us. If he does go to live with his sister I hope she keeps a watchful eye on her grandchildren if she has any. This man is capable of anything. If he does comes back to Shelbyville, parents keep and eye on your children. Again, thank you all for your support especially you Bo.

Mary Lee Ledbetter

-- Posted by mary37160 on Wed, Sep 19, 2007, at 3:57 PM

When are they thinking he may be released?

-- Posted by Dianatn on Wed, Sep 19, 2007, at 4:39 PM

I'm not sure.

-- Posted by mary37160 on Wed, Sep 19, 2007, at 4:57 PM

I'm in the Seibers family.I was not born when this happened so I never got to know my aunt.I think if Holton got the electric chair for murdering his children then Edward Mcgee deserves the same treament for murdering our children whether the evidence is gone or not he was convicted of one murder why did he not get convicted with the other child at the time,Explain that.If he does come back to Shelbyville and one of the family members kills him for the crime he done,Will they get the electric chair?Of course they will.They are saying that the prisons are overcrowded, If they give these murderers and rapists the electric chair the prisons won't be overcrowded.Please help us keep this man in prison, He will kill again.

-- Posted by belinda37183 on Wed, Sep 19, 2007, at 10:34 PM

Below is the link for a petition site..You have more info on this than I do,I tried to get all the details from the internet but I guess it has been to long ago because I found nothing. go to the site and do an on line petition..we can also print out the petition and get signatures from the people of Shelbyville who remember this man and what he did. Put as many details as possible in the petition, after you make the petition come back here and post the link. I will help you get signatures needed to send this to the Governor of Tennessee. Petitions do work..when the outcry from the public is large enough they have no choice but to do the right thing..but if we do not bring this to the attention of the people of Shelbyville McGee will slip though the cracks of justice.

Using your information I will setup a webpage with even more details if you would want to provide those..I will put a comment box there and link it to other sites that I have done online.

We have this vast internet out there and I know people will not want this man set free either. We will be able to print the comments from the webpage and send those to Bredsen also.

If you need help doing this Bo has my email please feel free to get it from him.


-- Posted by Dianatn on Fri, Sep 21, 2007, at 12:58 AM

i will get some info together and send it to you it will take me awhile

-- Posted by mary37160 on Sat, Sep 22, 2007, at 6:22 PM

I think Eddie need's to be tried for Debra Ray's murder. She has same as been forgotten by the system. Her and her family's rights have been thrown in the trash.

How can we let this happen?

This town and country owes her that.

This county (in my opinion) needs to serve the second warrent on him,and bring him here to face the families of Debra,and Phyllis,and all law abiding citizens of the town.

He need to answer to that warrent.

-- Posted by Gus on Sun, Sep 23, 2007, at 8:27 PM

There was mentioned,evidence being lost. I don't believe that. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigations was a large part of the murder scene,and took all the evidence with them. I feel rather sure It is not lost.In fact the girls'cloths had better be there.Otherwise some one really should be accountable as to where the are. We now have dna,and other tests that should prove exactly who handled the girls.MCgee alone or someone else helping. There are a lot of unanswered questions in this crime.

-- Posted by Gus on Mon, Sep 24, 2007, at 9:05 PM

Mr Melson,

The following is a link for a petition that is to be sent to the Governor:




Both of these links take you to the same page and you should not have to do a search. I have signed this petition and hope others will too. Everything possible should be done to make sure this animal stays behind bars where he belongs.

-- Posted by timidtg on Sun, Oct 14, 2007, at 10:34 PM

I am Randy Seibers, Phyllis Seibers brother and Debra Ray cousin, I was 10 years old when they were murdered. There is not a day goes by that I don't think about them. I always wonder what Phyllis would be doing now if she han't been taken from us. Phyllis and Debbie didn't get a chance to graduate high school or have a family and this was not there choice. Edward McGee took all this from them and why should he have a chance to live a life out side of prison. He doesn't deserve to have choices. He was only tried for Phyllis and the time he got was not enough, But he was never tried for Debbie, If he gets out it is like Debbie didn't matter. Why can't he be tried for her? There has to be evidence some where Things like that just don't go missing. Holton got the electric chair why can't McGee. If he is released he will kill again and whos child will it be next. He should be brought back to trial for Debbie and should receive the death sentence. My sister and cousin did not deserve what happen to them, they were only 8 & 9 years old. I know no matter what we do it won't bring them back but keeping him in prison might keep another child from being murdered.Thanks for all you are doing Bo Melson and everyone that is tring to help keep him in prison.

-- Posted by Bossie37160 on Wed, Oct 17, 2007, at 4:44 PM

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Bo Melson is a retired sports and police beat editor of the Times-Gazette. He passed away November 15, 2014, at age 81.
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