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Friday, Nov. 28, 2014

Closing out the McGee matter

Posted Friday, January 4, 2008, at 4:25 PM

Over the past three days I have attempted to cover the Edward McGee matter from the very beginning in Shelbyville in 1966 with the murder of two children, portions of his trial for the murder of one of them and the resulting 99-year sentence, his background and juvenile years and his latest release date that now stands at April 28, 2009.

With this blog I am finishing the McGee matter until the date he is likely to be set free sometime this fall.

Many times I've asked myself, "Who am I to question whether Edward McGee should be released from prison when our judicial system is apparently headed in that direction?"

I've discussed the matter with a local minister whom I respect very much.

Always during these self-questioning times I think of the family of Phyllis Seibers, whose death led to the 99-year sentence, the family of her little cousin, Deborah Ray, whose death and sexual violation has never gone before a judge and jury.

Yes, I also question myself regarding Eddie McGee, who once called me to his cell and told me he had been offered a 55-year sentence if he would plead guilty to the two murders and wanted to know if I thought he should take it.

I can only occasionally mention all of these in this blog, but I'll never forget it. Why? Because this turned out to be only the second of well over 100 murder scenes I was called on by law enforcement to take photographs... and I remember the horrible details of all of them.

I would like to contact Eddie and ask if he would talk with me if I visited him where he is being held, not pertaining to his guilt or innocence, but just to see if I could somehow determine what chance he has of handling life in 2008 when he wasn't remotely capable of it in 1966.

Your criticisms are welcomed in this matter.

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

Actually, Bo, I think that's a great idea. If he's "paid his debt" then I think it would be a really good thing for you to approach him with this. Everyone makes mistakes, some are on a MUCH grander scale than others, but everyone has done stupid things in their youth. It would possibly even be "therapeutic" for you to talk to him to settle in your mind whether or not you think he's been rehabilitated. I think it would be a great thing for someone that is not a part of the families to talk to him regarding this. I would even go so far as to say it's a charitable thing to do since he's been in prison for so long and, if he's released, he's not going to know much of what's going on outside the fences aside from what he's seen on TV (and God help him if he thinks that's what real life is about). I think you should do that. It might even be a good thing if you could get your minister to go with you to sit and talk with him. I'm sure they have ministers in prison, but I bet he could do with a different perspective.

-- Posted by Thom on Fri, Jan 4, 2008, at 4:35 PM

If you are feeling led to do this, you should. You saw first hand the brutality of these murders and have reported your recent thoughts so eloquently and with much respect for the deceased. Chances are your questions will only be answered by yet another entire book of questions but I think you should go for it. Thank you so much for your insight and compassion for these families. Talking about it certainly keeps us from forgetting. We should never forget.

-- Posted by ontheoutside on Fri, Jan 4, 2008, at 4:40 PM

I have enjoyed reading your blogs about this matter. I definitely think you should follow up with him. I know I'd be interested in reading about it.

-- Posted by sfowler on Fri, Jan 4, 2008, at 4:46 PM


You know how I feel about this subject. I myself am not related to the Ray or Seibers families. But my heart aches for their loss. I myself have tried to do whatever possible to start a ball rolling into keeping McGee in the prison system. I do not for the life of me see how sitting in a prison cell could have possibly made him rehabilitated. But I do hope for the sake of where ever he lives when he comes out that he is rehabilitated.

I have wrote to the board of parole and to the Governors office several times and only hit a brick wall when I do..they say he has served his time and without another trial his release is mandatory.

I myself am at a loss now as to what I can do to help them. I am sure the Seibers/Ray families would appreciate anything you could do to ease their minds.

-- Posted by Dianatn on Fri, Jan 4, 2008, at 4:51 PM


Does he maintain his innocence or did he admit guilt? I don't know the story, but I can see how you would be affected by this. But if he had the choice between 99 years and 55 years, why wouldn't he take the 55 years? Is there any DNA that could be tested?

-- Posted by Evil Monkey on Fri, Jan 4, 2008, at 5:01 PM

Given his low I.Q., and how he handled life before incarceration, and now his age, he won't have that steady structure of people telling him what to do and when and how to do it. Those types end up back in prison. Its the only home where they can function.

I find it hard to understand how nothing more was done about the girl in Nashville who was killed before he came here and killed two!

He really did fall thru all the cracks.

-- Posted by mmp84 on Fri, Jan 4, 2008, at 10:07 PM

Why would they offer him anything less than life imprisonment for the murder of two children?

Judging JUST from what I have read, it is more compassionate to leave him in jail. Also, based on just what I have read, it would be safer for society to leave him in jail.

If he does something to another child, I would not blame the parents for going after him and the irresponsible *!@#&* that let him out.

I see no reason to give him a chance to "rehabilitate". Would the people making the decision to let him out give him a room in THEIR house with THEIR children living there? If so, THEY need to be locked up for their children's sake.

I think of myself as being a kind and forgiving person, but there are some things that I have to leave up to my Lord. I could not be that good.

-- Posted by stevemills on Sat, Jan 5, 2008, at 9:48 AM

Edward McGee told he he had been told he would receive a sentence of 55 years in prison if he would plead guilty to the murder of both children. This was before he ever went to trial for the death of only Phyllis Seibers and was sentenced to 99 years.

He asked my opinion. I told him if he did it he had better take that offer. He never said that he murdered the girls although one person heard of our talk and asked if he had asked if he had said he did it.

I told that person no. He grinned at me and said, "Are you sure he didn't."

My response was I'm positive he didn't.

There was a general feeling McGee would never survive in prison, that other inmates would kill him.

-- Posted by bomelson on Sat, Jan 5, 2008, at 3:24 PM

I am sure you covered it Bo, but why was McGee accused and what evidence convicted him?

I know this affected you as well as the family, but since we are discussing it.....

-- Posted by stevemills on Sat, Jan 5, 2008, at 3:53 PM

I think that this would make a great series if you still have any of the original notes from your interviews. Like Steve, I would like to know what evidence they had that convicted him, if it's not too much trouble for you. Also, if they had an airtight case against him, there's absolutely no way that they would have offered a double-child murderer 55 years. Now I'm starting to wonder what their motivation would have been for offering him that.

-- Posted by Thom on Sat, Jan 5, 2008, at 5:04 PM

Thom, Steve, there are certain things I really can't mention in a blog format.

If you wish to contact me by telephone sometime Tuesday or Wednesday I will answer your questions.

-- Posted by bomelson on Sun, Jan 6, 2008, at 10:38 PM

Thanks Bo. I understand your concern.

-- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Jan 7, 2008, at 7:41 AM

Thanks, Bo. I will do that. Since I'm new to the area, the only reference that I have regarding this crime, is what I've read on here.

-- Posted by Thom on Mon, Jan 7, 2008, at 11:24 AM

I believe in the judicial system. I understand that mistakes are occasionally made and the wrong person is convicted. I feel these cases are few and far between. If this man did commit these crimes, I'll take issue with your comments, Thom. He'll never "pay his debt" if he indeed raped and murdered this little girl. End of discussion. There is a difference between "stupid mistakes in our youth" and brutally raping and murdering a young child. Shame on you for even suggesting this was a "stupid mistake", and writing it off as something other than a gruesome crime that should of resulted in a gruesome death to the perpetrater! This frame of mind is part of the reason these criminals are let back on the street to commit these same crimes again. I hope and pray that if their is a just God as I believe, he will strike down his vegence on this low-life of a human being before he is allowed to repeat this terrible crime again!

-- Posted by tgreader on Tue, Jan 8, 2008, at 12:14 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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