Judge Edwards was raised in Marion by his parents, the Reverend Jon Edwards and his wife Sylvia Edwards R.N, and is a graduate of Marion Harding High School. He received his undergraduate degree from Capital University (Bexley, Ohio) and his law degree from The Ohio State University College of Law (Columbus, Ohio).
He began his legal career as a law clerk with the civil firm of Decker, Vonau, Sybert Lackey & Viets Co., L.P.A. whose practice focused on legal issues surrounding construction, land contracts, personal injury, wills and estates. Upon receiving his law license, he joined the Franklin County Prosecutor’s office, where for almost two decades he successfully prosecuted thousands of felony crimes. His efforts resulted in a reputation as a tough on crime trial prosecutor, who had convicted dozens of murders to sentences of life in prison. Several of cases he handled garnered national media coverage, including the prosecution of Columbus SWAT officer Steve Smith’s killer, the Volunteers of America Warehouse Arsonist, and the prosecution of Michael Slager for both the arson of Judy Malinowski, and three years later for her murder from that arson, a case that made Ohio legal history by being the first to preserve a murder victim’s testimony via deposition for trial, and ultimately resulted in the passage of “Judy’s Law”.
As the senior Judge of Marion’s Common Pleas Court, Judge Edwards serves as the Administrative Judge. In this role he has brought the Marion County Courthouse in to compliance with Ohio Supreme Court security guidelines, by requiring all visitors to the courthouse to pass through a metal detector for the first time in Marion’s history, as well as implementing numerous other security procedures. Judge Edwards has also used the Role of Administrative Judge to ensure that those facing or being held on felony charges are no longer released due to jail overcrowding.
Judge Edwards also runs both of the Common Pleas court’s specialized dockets. His Drug Court focuses on assisting addicts with recovery, while his Re-entry court deals with those offenders who are re-entering society after a period of incarceration.
Judge Edwards lives in Marion County with his wife, Kelesta, a River Valley graduate, to whom he has been married for over 25 years. They have two adult children, who also both graduated from River Valley. He is a member of the Marion County Bar Association as well as the Ohio Judicial Conference.