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Edic found guilty of murder in 2010 prison attack

William Edic

(GEOFF FORESTER Monitor staff)

William Edic (GEOFF FORESTER Monitor staff)

William Edic, the 32-year-old accused of fatally assaulting a fellow Concord inmate at the behest of his white supremacist prison gang, was found guilty today of reckless second-degree murder. He was also convicted of falsifying physical evidence.

After a week of testimony and just more than four hours of deliberation, the 12-member jury sided with the prosecution’s claim that Edic repeatedly stomped and kicked Anthony “Tony” Renzzulla, rendering him comatose, and that in doing so he demonstrated an “extreme indifference” to the value of human life.

The jury, composed of five men and seven women, issued the verdict shortly after noon in Merrimack County Superior Court. As it was announced, Edic, dressed in a simple shirt and tie, stood with his arms neatly crossed, his face devoid of emotion. Later, after jurors had left, he quietly thanked his public defenders and told their assistants to “take care.”

Donna Brown, one of Edic’s two attorneys, said after the hearing only that her client was “disappointed.” She and co-counsel Jeremy Clemans plan to file an appeal.

The date for a sentencing hearing was not immediately decided. It is expected to take place within 30 to 40 days. Edic is set to max out of his present sentence, on second degree assault from 2009, next year.

Theresa Gilman, the mother of the victim, Anthony Renzzulla, was not present to hear the verdict. She had sat through most of the trial, tearfully excusing herself at times during testimony.

Over six days, jurors listened as three of Edic’s former pod mates recounted a grisly assault, in which Edic and a fellow gang member, Thomas Milton, ambushed Renzzulla in their day room, savagely kicking and stomping him, even when he was clearly unconscious.

A fourth inmate, Randall Chapman, a former member of the gang, the Brotherhood of White Warriors, testified that he had known the attack was imminent. He also admitted to helping clean up afterward.

Renzzulla, 42 and hobbled at the time by back pain, was found later that day, July 26, 2010, crumpled next to a nearby pay phone. He died nearly 16 months later, having never regained consciousness.

Prosecutors and witnesses told jurors the attack had been ordered by a high-ranking gang official named Frank Philbrook. Philbrook, who has not been charged in the case, believed that Renzzulla had snitched on two other gang members, they said. The assault was payback.

But Edic’s attorneys repeatedly denounced those stories, claiming instead that the inmates had colluded to frame their client for favors from prosecutors and prison officials. They focused especially on Chapman, noting that he only agreed to talk when the state guaranteed they would move him out of state, release him early, and secure a work position for his brother, who was also incarcerated.

During the trial, one inmate broke down in tears, admitting he was the snitch BOWW had believed Renzzulla to be. Another chastised Brown and appealed directly to Gilman, insisting that Edic had murdered her son. A fourth pod mate who had taken the stand but refused to testify, apologized to Gilman on his way out, without jurors present.

Peter Hinckley, the lead prosecutor, said after the hearing that he could not comment, because Milton’s case is still pending. Milton’s trial, on the same charges, is set for jury selection in early December.

(Jeremy Blackman can be reached at 369-3319, jblackman@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @JBlackmanCM.)

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