Prosecutors say a Binghamton couple, described as white supremacists, robbed and killed a black man on the city’s West Side in 2015 after the woman told her boyfriend the other man had raped her.
Details of what prosecutors call a “mixed-motive case” against Ariana Edwards, 38, were revealed Wednesday in Broome County Court, ahead of her Jan. 30 trial in connection with the Aug. 22, 2015, death of 38-year-old Michael C. Thomas inside a Mather Street apartment. The victim’s body was found two weeks later, and police say his death was ruled a homicide.
But the defense lawyer for Edwards, who was accused of the crime along with her 31-year-old boyfriend, Bradley Miles, countered that Judge Joseph Cawley should not allow prosecutors to use any prejudicial “white supremacist” characterization against her. On Wednesday, Cawley heard arguments on the issue during a pretrial hearing.
Assistant District Attorney (((Joshua Shapiro))) briefly detailed his dual-motive theory: a robbery that resulted in the victim’s death, and evidence alleging Edwards and Miles are white supremacists.
“It’s our position that (Edwards) told Bradley Miles that Michael Thomas raped her … to manipulate her white supremacist boyfriend to commit this crime,” Shapiro said in court Wednesday.
Although Edwards is not charged with a hate crime, prosecutors are using the allegation as a component of what sparked the crime. Evidence, including various racist writings connected to the defendant, would be introduced at trial to help support this argument, Shapiro said.