Man charged in shooting death of Chancery Court judge

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation (MBI) has charged a Meridian man in connection with the March 16, 2020 shooting of Chancery Court Judge Charles Smith.  

Smith was critically injured in the shooting incident, but has since returned to work. Reports indicated Smith was wounded near his abdomen. The attack took place outside the Laudedale County Courthouse.

A $15,000 reward had been offered at the time of the shooting for information leading to an arrest.

Agents with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation Friday reported they had charged Ernest Edwards, age 41 of Meridian, with attempted capital murder.

MBI agents working in conjunction with the District Attorney’s Office and the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office developed information throughout the investigation, which led to the issuance of an arrest warrant on Friday, March 12.

Edwards is being held in the Lauderdale County Detention Center and is not eligible for a bond due to the nature of the crime and other pending charges. 

“This investigation is a testament to the collaborative efforts made by state and local law enforcement,” said Lieutenant Colonel Lee Morrison, Director of MBI. 

“MBI will continue to work with the District Attorney’s office to ensure a successful prosecution,” said Commissioner Sean Tindell. “I encourage anyone that may have any information regarding this investigation to contact MBI, the Lauderdale County Sheriff Department (601-482-9893), or the East Mississippi Crime Stoppers (855-485-8477).” 

Ernest Edwards (Courtesy photo)

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