Outburst in court after jurors sentence pair for homeless man's murder

By Maureen Kyle

(LOUISVILLE) -- On Thursday Bailiffs had to restrain the two men convicted of murdering and sodomizing a homeless man as he was sleeping in an alley. The defendants had to be restrained after a jury recommended life sentences for each. WAVE 3's Maureen Kyle has the latest.

The sentencing phase of a trial is usually the end of an emotional roller coaster, but as the jury decided the fate of Derrick Edmonds and Tyreese Hall, the courtroom exploded in what the defense attorneys describe as the most unusual outburst they've ever seen.

With life and death on the line for one defendant on the line, emotions ran high. Tyreese Hall, with an IQ of 65, has been declared mentally retarded, so he was not eligible for the death penalty for the savage murder of 53-year-old Clifton Agnew.

Police say Agnew was sleeping in an alley behind the Salvation Army Center of Hope on Brook Street in April 2004 when Hall, then 19, and Edmonds, then 40, robbed him of fifty cents.

According to the police report, Agnew was beaten with hands, feet, a trash can and crock pot while being told to hand over his money.

He suffered severe head trauma, broken ribs, and a torn and lacerated anus, colon and rectum, Louisville Metro Police officer Gary Williamson wrote in his report.

The report says the two then stripped Agnew of his clothing and sodomized him with sticks, boards and bottles, causing internal injuries. He was also stabbed repeatedly. He died at University Hospital several weeks after the attack.

Hall was given the maximum sentence he could receive for Agnew's murder: life in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years. The jury recommended a shorter sentence of 25 years for the sodomy charge.

After Hall's sentence was read, everyone anxiously awaited Edmonds' sentence, knowing the maximum penalty could have been death. But the jury decided to sentence him to life in prison with no possibility of parole. The jury then handed down a sentence of 20 years for the robbery of Agnew and a life sentence for the sodomy charge.

As the judge excused the jury, emotions boiled over -- and surprisingly -- it was Hall. Bailiffs had to restrain both men after Hall spit on Edmonds.

Hall's attorney told us he spit at Edmonds because he was upset that Edmonds escaped the death penalty.

Prosecutors responded by saying the outburst showed how unstable both men are. Edmonds attorney says he expects to appeal the verdict and sentence. Hall's attorneys say their client will likely appeal, but they don't expect to represent Hall during the next phase.

Hall and Edmonds will be formally sentenced on April 20th.

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Online Reporter: Maureen Kyle

Online Producer: Michael Dever