Downing sentenced 19 to 40 for stabbing death

February 8, 2019

By Pat Maurer

An investigation that began July 15th has resulted in a guilty plea and the sentencing of Walter Roosevelt-Taft Downing of Highland Park for the stabbing death

Walter Roosevelt-Taft Downing

Walter Roosevelt-Taft Downing

of James Edwards.

Downing, who entered a no contest plea to manslaughter and pled guilty to habitual offender 4th offense January 4th , was sentenced  this week by Circuit Court Judge Thomas Evens to prison for 19 to 40 years and ordered $17,044.71 in restitution, $68 in state costs and $130 crime victim rights fee.

The charges stem from a July 15 9-11 call about a stabbing.

Reportedly the victim, James Edwards, and Downing had been picked up as hitchhickers by some local citizens. Investigators later learned that Downing, Edwards and the people who picked them up knew each other.

According to a post from Clare County Prosecutor Michelle Ambrozaitis, “an argument between the two men earlier that morning resulted in Downing stabbing Edwards twice.” She continued saying, “Edwards fled the scene in a vehicle that he crashed into a neighbor’s garage in a bid to obtain emergency medical assistance.”

Edwards died in the ambulance from his injuries.

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