At a sentencing hearing in Kingston, Missouri, Judge Daren Adkins sentenced Harold Edwards Jr. to life in prison for the May 10, 2022 murder of Lorene Fickess. Edwards previously pled guilty to second-degree murder in addition to three counts of possession of child pornography. Edwards admitted to killing the 96-year-old Polo, Missouri resident with a heavy beveled object and to possessing more than 21 images of child pornography.
The State was represented by Brady Kopek, Caldwell County Prosecuting Attorney, as well as Assistant Attorney Generals Jeff Suddy Jr. and Kate Welborn of the Missouri Attorney General’s Office. Edwards was represented by Anthony Kagay from Kansas City.
At the hearing, the State detailed the facts supporting the charges and asked the court to give Edwards the maximum sentence allowed by law. Circuit Judge Daren Adkins sentenced Edwards to one term of Life Imprisonment with the possibility of Parole for the murder of Lorene Fickess. The court also sentenced Edwards to seven years on each of the three counts of possession of child pornography and ordered that all of the sentences should run consecutively to one another. Previously, and in accordance with a plea agreement, the State dismissed 13 remaining counts, including four additional counts of possession of child pornography, armed criminal action, three counts of second-degree arson, two counts of second-degree burglary, first-degree burglary, and abandonment of a corpse.
Sheriff Mitchell K. Allen said in a brief statement, “We are happy to see that Mr. Edwards Jr. will be behind bars. We are hoping that this brings some closure to the family members of Mrs. Lorene Fickess. Also, I would like to say thank you to all of the Agencies involved in this case for a job well done.”
Kopek stated, “We are glad this matter has now been resolved, and I hope this brings the family some peace.” The prosecutors also thanked the many law enforcement officers and technicians who worked on the case for their great efforts in quickly developing evidence that allowed them to focus on Edwards. “This was a very complex evidentiary case with enormous amounts of physical and electronic evidence to be collected and managed, and the officers and departments involved worked for a successful conclusion to this case. There were investigators from local, county, state, and federal agencies working together, and it was only through the cooperation of all these that a successful case was developed.”