Plea To Shooting Dj: Guilty But Ill Attorneys Said The Defendant Was Not Insane During The City Ave. Attack. She Gave Up Her Right To A Trial.

Posted: January 27, 1998

A so-called fan of disc jockey Miriam ``Mimi'' Brown yesterday pleaded guilty but mentally ill in Montgomery County Court to the shooting of Brown in the Main Line parking lot of WDAS-FM (105.3) in April.

Loretta Edwards, 37, could face up to 27 years in jail for firing an unregistered .25-caliber semiautomatic handgun four times through the window of Brown's car - shooting the DJ once in one of her arms and grazing a shoulder.

By pleading guilty but mentally ill, Edwards gave up her right to a trial. She was certified as a paranoid schizophrenic by psychologists for both the state and the defense. However, she was not legally insane the night she waited for Brown in the shadows of the City Avenue parking lot and shot her, attorneys agreed yesterday.

A person is declared legally insane if he or she does not understand the consequences of his or her actions and cannot differentiate between right and wrong.

In Edwards' case, said Assistant District Attorney Wendy Demchick-Alloy, ``she understood the consequences and the difference between right and wrong, but she was suffering from a mental illness that may have propelled her to do this.''

The West Philadelphia woman has no criminal record, and it has been unclear in Edwards' statements to police why she shot the popular disc jockey.

Brown could not be reached for comment. Station employees said at the preliminary hearing in May that Edwards had often called the radio station to speak to Brown and regularly attended promotional events when Brown would be present. However, police have no record of harassment.

``[Edwards'] assessment of the situation was not reality-based,'' said Demchick-Alloy. ``But her actions speak louder than words.''

Demchick-Alloy said she would seek a severe punishment for Edwards, who is scheduled to be sentenced next month.

In fact, under old sentencing guidelines, the penalty for aggravated assault is stiffer than for attempted murder. So attorneys for both sides have agreed that Edwards will be sentenced for aggravated assault in February.

Edwards may serve part of her sentence in a maximum-security mental hospital. For now, though, she remains at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility on a $50,000 cash bond.

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