The mother of a college student murdered in 2000 said she forgives the man now charged with the crime.
Samuel Lewis Edwards, 35, of Franklin, appeared before a judge Thursday to face murder charges in a case that has haunted Carroll County for fourteen years.
A Carroll County Grand Jury indicted Edwards on three counts of malice murder and 3 counts of felony murder this week. According to the indictment, Edwards stabbed and strangled Jackson.
"I was overjoyed, I was happy because this has been such a long time," said Emma Jackson, about the news that a suspect had been named in the murder of her daughter.
Emma and Gene Jackson of Decatur attended Edwards' first hearing.
Police said Toyal Jackson had gone to Walmart on Oct. 29, 2000 when she was kidnapped, stabbed and strangled. Her body was found in a field a month later.
Years of dead end leads left the Carrollton Police Department frustrated.
In 2013, Carrollton Mayor Wayne Garner increased the reward in the case to $25,000, calling Toyal Jackson's murder, "the unsolved case in the city of Carrollton."
The Carroll County District Attorney's office would not tell CBS46 what information led them to suspect Edwards. But Emma Jackson told CBS46 reporter Jeff Chirico that she believes Edwards matches the sketch a witness helped create after her daughter went missing.
"I cannot hate him, " said Emma Jackson. "I have forgiven him. I have. And I cannot ask for the death penalty either because killing another person won't bring Toyal back."
Edwards is being held in the Carroll County jail.
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Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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