Patricia Edgar, 58, sat in the second-to-last bench in the court room, rocking back and forth, head down and praying as she waited for Judge Lynda Van Davis’ verdict on the case of her son Jamel. When the judge announced that the jury had found him guilty of rape and kidnapping, Edgar gripped the bench and began shaking. With each count her sobs permeated the room, as a family friend held her up.
But there were two Jamel Edgars in the courtroom on Thursday, the one his family and friends described as a family man and hard worker, who would patrol the neighborhood with his gun before bedtime to ensure safety.
This was in stark contrast to the man portrayed by two victims.
The first woman described how he offered her a ride near midnight on Feb. 9, 2009, then forced her at gunpoint to commit a sexual act and tried to bring her into his house to continue the assault. She managed to escape, running down the street screaming for help. Ignored by two women, she finally managed to find someone to open the door and call the police.
Less than an hour later, the second victim, who has bipolar disorder, was walking home from her nightly cook job when, she said, Edgar drove up beside her, pointed his gun and commanded that she get inside his purple Chrysler. When she got in, he also ordered her to commit a sexual act on him as he drove.
Shortly after midnight on May 27, after a two-day trial, the 27-year-old man from the Seventh Ward in Orleans Parish was found guilty of four counts of rape and kidnapping related to the 2009 attacks.
His mother described her son as a “six foot one, overgrown baby who was not one for confrontation.” But Assistant District Attorney George Hesni drew a different picture, saying Edgar was forceful in his need to satisfy his desire that night.
“His carnal wishes weren’t fulfilled, so he went looking for another woman.”
Edgar will be sentenced in July and faces up to 80 years in prison.