– By Tiffani Ireland –
Shocking. That is the description heard most in The Advertiser’s examination of the verdict in the November trial of Edward Terrell Chandler. Chandler was tried at that time for the kidnapping, assault, and robbery of Roger Lamb of Johnston. Chandler was found not guilty of those charges and released. Then, two weeks ago, on the morning of Feb. 24, Chandler allegedly struck again in a crime eerily similar to that of which he had been acquitted in November. On that morning, Chandler is said to have knocked on the door of a person he knew, asked to use the telephone, and then rushed into the home and attacked and robbed the victim; all actions Chandler was accused of committing in the Lamb case. However, this time, the results were much worse as an 82-year-old Johnston woman was not only attacked and robbed but also raped by Chandler, according to the law enforcement charges.
Many questioned how a case described as “full of evidence” could have produced a not guilty verdict, and also whether this latest attack on a member of the Johnston community could have been avoided. These are questions Roger Lamb has also been asking.
In an interview with The Advertiser regarding his case and this latest crime, Lamb said, “It boggles my mind how reasonable people could look at the evidence and come to the conclusion they came to.” He went on to say, “I wish someone would explain it to me.” Regarding that evidence, The Advertiser also spoke with solicitor Ervin Maye who prosecuted Chandler in Lamb’s case. Speaking of the case, Maye said it was “a very strong case” telling another news agency, “ It had as strong of evidence as any I have prosecuted.” As Maye explained to The Advertiser, Lamb’s case had immediate reporting, DNA evidence, eye-witness testimony that corroborated the victim’s, photos of the crime scene as well as photographs of Lamb that showed obvious injuries to the victim. In addition, Chandler and his codefendant fled the scene after the crime. Chandler was later located in Georgia after stealing a car. He was initially charged with carjacking but pled guilty to the lesser charge of theft by taking. Chandler served a short sentence in Georgia for that crime before being extradited to Edgefield to face his charges in the Lamb case.
In the Lamb case, defense attorney’s petitioned the court to suppress eye witness testimony and the DNA evidence. However, as that was denied, they then tried another tactic; vilifying the victim. Chandler, who was the only witness for the defense, admitted on the stand to being a drug dealer. He even admitted to beating Lamb up. However, he said he beat Lamb because Lamb owed him money for drugs. Chandler claimed Lamb was a drug user and that he went to Lamb’s house to collect money owed for drugs. Not one other witness, however, was produced to substantiate these charges. Additionally, Lamb has never been convicted of drug use or dealing drugs. Interestingly, The Advertiser was told that Chandler only made these accusations against Lamb after his defense team was denied their petition to suppress evidence.
Did this defense tactic work. Lamb believes it did.
So upset over the not guilty verdict, Lamb paid to have a polygraph performed to test his truthfulness in recounting the events of the crime. Lamb “passed” this test showing truthfulness in his answers. Lamb further paid to have those findings and an open letter condemning the verdict printed in The Advertiser. In a separate letter received by The Advertiser, Lamb says the verdict in November “set a rabid animal loose upon the citizens of Johnston.” In that same letter, Lamb says while he did want vindication, he did not want it to come “at the expense of someone else being savagely attacked as I was.” Lamb said, “…I know what it’s like to be at the mercy of a monster. No one deserves to be treated like that.”
For now, Chandler is again off the streets. He was arrested shortly after this latest attack and is currently being held in the Edgefield County Detention Center. The Edgefield County Sheriff’s Office is in charge of the investigation into this most recent crime. The Advertiser will continue to follow this story.