Man serving life sentence for murder gets second life sentence for another murder
Above: Marlon Edwards custody photo | Tulare County DA’s Office
Originally published 2-17-22 via Facebook
by the Tulare County District Attorney’s Office:
“Yesterday in Tulare County Superior Court, Visalia Division, the court sentenced Marlon Darnell Edwards, age 48, to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the 1994 shooting murder of a man during a drug deal.
After a night of drinking on January 4, 1994, the victim, Mario Castaneda, and his friends decided to get drugs and drove to a Visalia apartment complex in Castaneda’s car. Once there, they met Edwards for a drug deal. The conversation grew heated when Edwards and Castaneda discussed previous drug debts. After a back and forth, the two made a compromise where Castaneda would give Edwards a ride to a different apartment complex to get drugs. Ninety minutes later, one of Castaneda’s friends encountered Edwards without the victim back at the first apartment complex. When asked where Castaneda was, Edwards responded, “Was he a close friend of yours? I had to put him to sleep.” Investigation revealed that shots were heard at 1 am at the second apartment complex. Witnesses reported seeing a body outside of a vehicle with its door open. Police discovered Castaneda shot five times in the head and chest.
Despite witness accounts, there was no physical evidence that connected Edwards to the murder. In 1995, a jury convicted Edwards for a different 1994 murder. The court sentenced him to life in prison.
The Visalia Police Department continued to investigate the January 1994 murder when new evidence surfaced in 2012. Edwards, already in prison, was charged with the murder. On October 1, 2021, a Tulare County jury convicted him of first-degree murder with the special allegation of personal use of a firearm, and the special circumstance of a prior murder conviction. Prior to the 2021 proceedings, a trial was set to commence six times since 2012.”