County prosecutors declined today to file charges against a man arrested for fatally shooting his girlfriend's ex-boyfriend after he stabbed the woman and her mother. In opting not to bring a case, Deputy District Attorney David R. Lopez wrote that 29-year-old Diedree Edwards acted "in the defense of others, and in self-defense" after seeing his girlfriend and her mother being attacked early in the morning of Tuesday, January 20 by Rhett Wilkins at a southwest Los Angeles apartment complex.
"This office is declining to charge Mr. Edwards with any crimes," the prosecutor wrote.
In a one-page document accompanying a charge evaluation worksheet, the prosecutor said Edwards had been staying with the women because they had been threatened by Wilkins. Wilkins showed up about 5:30 a.m. last Tuesday and made threats against his ex-girlfriend and her mother, according to Lopez. The older woman was stabbed when she went outside in the morning, then Edwards' girlfriend was stabbed when she followed her mother outside, according to the prosecutor, who had been tasked with evaluating whether charges of either murder or felon with a firearm were warranted.
Edwards–who heard screams and knew of the ongoing problems the two women were having with Wilkins–took a handgun from the older woman's bedroom closet, saw the victims being stabbed and fired three times as Wilkins advanced upon him, according to the document. Wilkins, 44, was declared dead at the scene in the 4000 block of Stevely Avenue. Following the shooting, Edwards ran back inside the apartment, where he held police at bay for several hours, Los Angeles police said after his arrest that afternoon. A SWAT team fired tear gas canisters into the residence, drawing Edwards outside, where he was taken into custody, according to police.
Police had noted after Edwards' arrest that they believed he was trying to protect the two women.