A convicted felon used a fake address to register as a sex offender and was living in a different town when he twice broke into his neighbor’s house before ambushing and strangling the woman, an investigator testified on Tuesday.
Cortrell Rose, 30, is charged with capital murder, kidnapping, burglary and other crimes in the Sept. 24 death of 59-year-old Lenora Patsy Edhegard in Brandon.
Rose had been released from prison May 31 after serving two terms behind bars. He was sentenced to just over four years in 2004 on a conviction for fondling a child in Monroe County. He returned to prison in 2009 for three years for a probation violation and failing to register as a sex offender in Adams County.
Rankin County Sheriff’s Department investigator Wayne Humphreys testified during a preliminary hearing Tuesday that Rose used a “fictitious” address in Jackson for the sex offender registry, but was living next door to Edhegard in the nearby town of Brandon.
“He had no business being there,”
Humphreys said. Humphreys testified that Rose had broken into Edhegard’s home in the weeks before the killing and stolen several items, including her .22 caliber pistol. He had that gun when he broke into the house again the day of the slaying, but left when Edhegard didn’t get home as early as expected because she had gone shopping, the investigator said.
When Edhegard did get home, authorities say Rose rushed in behind her and tied her up.
Humphreys said Rose confessed to the killing during several interviews and described a chilling scene. Rose told investigators he used a scarf and telephone cord to bind Edhegard’s hands and feet before ransacking the house looking for valuables. He later put a Wal-Mart bag over Edhegard’s head and strangled her in her bed with the cord from a curling iron, Humphreys said.
She didn’t die on the first attempt, so he strangled her again, the investigator said, adding that Edhegard put up a fight.
“Her demeanor was defiant to the end,” he said.
Authorities say Rose eventually put Edhegard’s body in the trunk of her car and drove to the end of a dead-end street in Madison County where he dumped her in the woods. He allegedly then used her credit cards to shop for video game consoles and other items.
Rose was captured the next day hiding behind a vending machine in a Jackson Wal-Mart after he ran when deputies pulled him over.
Michael Guest, the district attorney for Rankin and Madison Counties, said he will consult with Edhegard’s family before deciding whether he’ll seek the death penalty.
Guest also said it’s likely that authorities in Hinds County, where the fictitious sex offender address was listed, would have discovered the discrepancy in coming weeks or months.
A message left for a Hinds County Sheriff’s Department spokesman wasn’t immediately returned
The Mississippi Department of Public Safety is the repository for sex offender records and state law requires that sex offenders go to a driver’s license station every 90 days to re-register. The last time Rose did that was Sept. 4.
DPS spokesman Warren Strain said Tuesday that the address used by Rose came back as valid when he registered. He said DPS has no authority to investigate the addresses provided, but if a discrepancy had been found, the sheriff’s department in that county would have been notified and tasked with investigating.
Rankin County Judge Kent McDaniel ordered the case to go to a grand jury after Tuesday’s hearing. McDaniel entered a not guilty plea for Rose at an earlier hearing.
An attorney assigned to represent Rose for Tuesday’s hearing had no comment.