(Editor's note: This opinion piece was initially submitted to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution but has not yet been published there.)
The reason I am writing this letter is to spark an interest in my friend Edmund Woodard III's murder, which occurred on Oct. 22, 2000. Apparently his tragic death has been forgotten, and the prosecution of the responsible individuals has been overlooked by the Fulton County (Ga.) district attorney's office. This is evident by the fact that his family's, as well as my, numerous phone calls requesting a status update on the prosecution have gone unanswered.
The same district attorney is in office since the initial arrest and indictment, and the same assistant DA who brought the original case to the grand jury for the indictment is still employed there.
On October the 22nd, 2000, at approximately 2 a.m., my friend Eddie and his brother-in-law were getting into their vehicle. A subsequent robbery took place in which three men with handguns robbed Eddie and his brother-in-law. Eddie's brother-in-law was shot first in the hip, and Eddie proceeded to help him into the vehicle. Then Eddie ran to the driver's side and got in to drive away, but was shot in the stomach and later died of his wounds at the hospital.
In early November 2000, two men, 33-year-old Antonio "Little Shoes Brother" Rush and 43-year-old Howard "Carwash Red" Dean were arrested, charged with his murder and later indicted. A third man who took part in the robbery, and who had a handgun, was never identified.
Eddie's heroics were quite evident in this case, as he could have run at the sound of gunfire but instead chose to help his brother-in-law to their vehicle. His actions put his brother-in-law's life in front of his; that's the kind of man and friend Eddie was. He not only lived by his selfless nature, but it caused his demise.
Mr. Rush and Mr. Dean were not only arrested for this crime but were also indicted by a grand jury. It is my hope that these two men will finally be tried in court, before a jury, for this horrific crime. They chose to end the life of a great man and deserve to be tried. They have been free for the past 11-plus years, something that was not granted to my friend. It's long past time they answer for the actions they chose that night.
Eddie left behind a wife, two daughters, a mother and father, a sister and brother, extended family as well as many close friends. Eddie was a friend to all he met. He had a great personality that allowed him to make friends easily. Eddie was also a decorated war veteran, serving in Desert Storm as a Marine. He tragically lost a daughter to a drowning accident while serving in the Marines when he was stationed in North Carolina.
My question to the Fulton County DA Paul Howard is why this murder was put on the "Dead Docket"? This is a simple, straightforward question that I have been trying to get answered for the past two months. Hopefully Mr. Howard will move forward with this case so the family can move on and not feel that a further injustice has been done them.
While I was working on this letter, I was notified by the Atlanta police that the file on this case has been lost - how convenient. It is my hope that politics is not playing a part in this. After 11 years, a grand jury indictment that was never brought to trial and now a lost file brings out the skeptic in me. I would like to thank the two Atlanta police majors for the effort that they have put into this and for returning my calls.
In conclusion, you would think that an indictment would be enough to proceed. The DA presented the case to a grand jury, and they agreed there was enough evidence to proceed, so based on this, a trial should have taken place.
Dean Montroy lives in Bloomingdale.