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McGee's life one of tragedyPosted Thursday, January 3, 2008, at 11:00 PM
Edward McGee's life was pathetic and marked with red warning flags even before he murdered Phyllis Seibers, 8, and her cousin, Deboran Ray, 9, on Dec. 18, 1966 in the old city dump off Sims Road.
Even from his moment of birth as the illegitimate son of a Nashville teen-ager who disowned him shortly very early, McGee's mere existence hasn't been easy or kind.
He was raised by his grandmother, but after she died of cancer he was sent to a church-sponsored orphanage in Kentucky. Red warning flags marked his stay at the orphanage. He was found peeking through a window of the girls dormitory and later entering that dormitory and taking their underclothing.
During his trial in October, 1967, for the murder of Phyllis Seibers and as recently as December, 2003, in a parole hearing Northeast Correctional Complex, psychiatrists and a lady who was once McGee's special education teacher have testified to his mental capacities.
He's been described as dull, borderline retarded, having an IQ of 70-80, incapable of handling stress without striking out, having a low emotional breaking point and as being constantly afraid and thinking everyone was chasing him.
Even when he was 18 years old, McGee's reading level was described as second or third grade.
Even before McGee came to Shelbyville and committed the December, 1966, murders, he was described as a prime suspect in the death of a Nashvile girl.
That victim, 11-year-old Wanda June Anderson, was raped and murdered. She lived a short distance from where McGee was residing at the time. He once had a detective book about the Anderson murder with him while being held at the old Bedford County Jail.
McGee was picked up a couple of days after the Seibers-Ray murders on an old burglary charge and held on that until the investigation of the murders was complete.
At one point prior to his trial for the death of the Seibers child, he spent a brief time at the old Tennessee State Prison. While there an inmate threw a cup of hot coffee in his face.
A Circuit Court Jury found McGee guilty of the Seibers murder in October, 1967. He was sentenced to 99 years.
McGee waived his right to a parole hearing in December, 2003, but he is now scheduled to be released with his 99-year sentence served on April 28, 2009. He is presently receiving one day of credit for each two days served so his release date will likely be sometime in the fall of 2008.
He's never been to trial and is apparently unlikely to stand trial for the death of Deborah Ray, who was murdered and sexually molested.
I've heard that McGee has had only one visitor during his stay in prison. A spokesperson at Northeast Correctional Complex told me in late 2007 that he never had visitors there.
Only in recent months has he been around other inmates.
I've heard from two sources that McGee has told authorities he is going to live with his sister in Arizona.
Since he is now with other inmates in the auxillary facility at Northeast Correctional Complex, McGee may be in the most stable environment of the entire 59 or 60 years of his life.
He couldn't live on his own as a 19-year-old in 1966. He even played with paper dolls then. Is there any chance he can exist on his own in 2008?
Do you thing he has been rehabilitated? Will he be a danger to the public when released?
I have wondered if deep down he wants to be released or is merely being kicked out by the state for financial reasons.
This entire episode of State of Tennessee Versus Edward McGee has left many questions and very few answers.
Bo Melson is a retired sports and police beat editor of the Times-Gazette.