Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Natural Born Killers

Caught and Sued

At the time of the Savage murder and the shooting of Byers, authorities in Louisiana and Mississippi had no evidence or motive to connect the two incidents. Both continued to baffle investigators, long after Sarah and Ben returned to Oklahoma. However, as the saying goes, "Loose lips sink ships," and the two of them were unable to keep silent about their deeds. They began bragging about what they did and an anonymous informant reported what they heard about the Byers shooting to Louisiana authorities.

Sarah Edmondson in custody.
Sarah Edmondson in custody.

Sarah was arrested at her parents' home on June 2, 1995. Soon the full story emerged. Sarah confessed and implicated Ben in the murder of Bill Savage. She was granted immunity by the State of Mississippi in exchange for her testimony against Ben. The two then began sniping at each other, each one accusing the other of instigating the violent spree. In Louisiana was charged with attempted second degree murder, armed robbery, and illegal use of a firearm in the commission of a violent crime.

Ben Darrus in custody.
Ben Darrus in custody.

Ben was also charged with armed robbery in the shooting of Byers and was being held, along with Sarah, in the Tangipahoa Parish Jail in the parish seat of Amite. Her bond was set at $1 million. Ben would later be charged with first-degree murder in the death of Bill Savage and he also later pled guilty to the armed robbery charge in Tangipahoa.

As reported in the July 30, 1995, edition of the (New Orleans) Times-Picayune, the Edmondsons said they were standing by their daughter, despite the charges against her. "She's the light of my life," Jim Edmondson was quoted as saying. "She's daddy's girl."

The Edmondsons came to visit Sarah in the parish jail on July 26, Sarah's nineteenth birthday. On that same day, in Tangipahoa Parish Court, attorneys for Byers and her family filed a civil lawsuit against Sarah and Ben for an unspecified amount of damages stemming from the shooting incident that left Byers paralyzed. The damages included physical pain, disability, medical expenses.

One of the Byers family attorneys, Joe Simpson of Amite, acknowledged that Sarah and Ben "may not have substantial assets, but their story may be worth a lot. There may be a book or movie rights" involved in their story, Simpson said, adding that if the couple did sign a book and/or movie deal, he would try to attach the profits to help pay the Byers family's expenses.

In the first month after the story became public, Jim Edmondson told the Hammond (La.) Daily Star that he received 130 letters from people about Sarah. All but one of them were supportive. The one that wasn't supportive was from a woman in Lafayette, La., who said Sarah should be shot in the neck and paralyzed so that her parents would be forced to care for her, and they would know what Patsy Byers and her family were going through. In response, Jim said that would be preferable to having his daughter in a jail cell.

The Edmondsons also expressed a desire to meet Patsy Byers and her family and "begin the healing process," according to Suzanne. "Our church prays for her, as well as Sarah," she added.

 

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