Capital Murder Defendant Receives Life without Parole plus 55 years

Madison and Rankin Counties’ District Attorney Michael Guest announced today that Cortell Rose pled guilty to kidnapping and killing Lenora Edgehard. Rose was sentenced on Monday and received a sentence of life without parole on the charge of capital murder. Rose received an additional 55 year sentence after being found guilty of kidnapping, motor vehicle theft, failure to register as a sex offender and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Judge John Emfinger ordered that all the sentences be served consecutively.

On the morning of September 24, 2012, the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department responded to a call at 159A Cumberland Road in Brandon in reference to a missing person. The victim’s sister informed law enforcement that Ms. Edgehard had not gone to work that morning and that the family was unable to reach her. The family stated the last contact with Lenora was at 7:00 the previous night. Deputies then entered the victim’s residence and discovered evidence of foul play. They also determined that her vehicle, a 2007 Toyota Corolla was missing.

Law enforcement then contacted the victim’s bank to obtain information of any recent purchases on the victim’s account. Bank records showed an attempted ATM withdrawal the previous night. Video footage from the ATM showed a black male who was driving the victim’s vehicle attempted to make two ATM withdrawals at approximately 11:00 p.m.

Investigators also learned that the victim’s credit card had been used at the Wal-Mart located on Highway 18 in Jackson. Wal-Mart was able to provide video of the individual who had used the stolen credit card. Law enforcement compared the photo to a known photograph of Rose who they had developed as a suspect and determined that he was the individual that had used the victim’s ATM and credit card.

Investigators from the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department then proceeded to Highway 18 in Jackson in an attempt to locate the stolen Toyota Corolla. Deputies came into contact with the vehicle in the Wal-Mart parking lot and pulled their vehicle in front of the suspect’s vehicle in an attempted the stop and arrest Rose. Rose was able to exit the vehicle and fled the area on foot. As Rose fled from the vehicle, he discarded a .22 caliber pistol which was later recovered.

Law Enforcement officers from the Hinds County Sheriff’s Department, Jackson Police Department and the United States Marshall’s Service joined in the manhunt to capture Rose. Law Enforcement received information that Rose had fled into the Wal-Mart store and that he was trying to contact a friend to pick him up. Officers conducted an extensive search of the store and Rose was found to be hiding behind a vending machine.

After his arrest Rose led law enforcement officers to the victim’s body that he had dumped in the general area of Tugaloo College. When the body was located officers observed that her feet and hands were bound. An autopsy determined that the victim died of asphyxiation. The medical examiner also determined that the manner of death was homicide.

Guest stated, “Rose is a dangerous and sick individual who took the life of an innocent woman whom was loved by all. This senseless act of violence has devastated Lenora’s family and friends. I can only hope that knowing that this defendant will spend the rest of his life behind bars will provide a small amount of comfort to those who continue to grieve over Lenora’s death.”

Sheriff Bryan Bailey stated, “When I learned of Lenora’s disappearance I immediately made all of the resources of the Sheriff’s Department available to locate her. The men and women of the Sheriff’s Department worked tireless to solve this case and bring Lenora’s killer to justice. We would not have been able to make an arrest as quickly as we did without the assistance provided by other law enforcement agencies. I want to thank the Hinds County Sheriff’s Department, the Jackson Police Department, the United States Marshall’s Service and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations for their assistance in this investigation.”

Guest added, “Sheriff Bailey, the Rankin County Sheriff’s Department, and all the other men and women involved in this case did an outstanding job in identifying and tacking down this cowardly killer. This case is an example of how the criminal justice system can work when multiple agencies work together to take dangerous individuals off our streets.”

Guest concluded,” Rose was both a habitual offender and a convicted sex offender who had been previously convicted on at least four prior occasions. When Rose was released from prison he was required by law to register as a sex offender. Rose registered but used a fictitious address in Hinds County, and therefore Lenora had no idea this dangerous individual was residing in her neighborhood. It is a tragedy that someone with the record of Rose was allowed to fall through the cracks of the system. Hopefully Lenora’s law that was passed this year will close this loophole and will better allow us to track sex offenders who have been released from prison.”

Rose has previous felony convictions from Monroe, Warren and Adams County. His convictions include: Fondling in 2004 from Monroe County, Business Burglary in 2003 in Warren County, Burglary of a Dwelling in 2001 from Adams County, and Failure to Register as a Sex Offender in 2009 from Adams County.

Name: Cortell Rose
Date of Birth: October 11, 1981
Address: 1500 Cumberland Street, Flowood, MS