Sex offender gets life sentence in slaying of Brandon neighbor

Cortrell Rose
Cortrell Rose

JACKSON, Mississippi (AP) — A man has been sentenced to life plus 55 years in prison in the 2012 strangling death of a Brandon woman that prompted state lawmakers to pass new legislation for dealing with some convicted sex offenders.

Authorities say Cortrell Rose, 32, used a fake Jackson address to register as a sex offender after being released from prison last year, but was living next door to 59-year-old Lenora Patsy Edhegard in Brandon when he broke in and killed her.

Michael Guest, district attorney for Madison and Rankin counties, said Rose was sentenced last Monday on charges of capital murder, kidnapping, car theft, failure to register as a sex offender and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Rankin County Circuit Judge John Emfinger sentenced Rose to life without the possibility of parole on the capital murder charge and another 55 years on the other counts.

State lawmakers passed and Gov. Phil Bryant signed “Lenora’s Law” earlier this year, which requires sex offenders to wear GPS tracking bracelets if they’re convicted of failing to register.

Rose had been released from prison just months before the killing. He was sentenced to just over four years in 2004 on a conviction for fondling a child in Monroe County. He returned to prison in 2009 for three years for a probation violation and for failing to register as a sex offender in Adams County.

“It was a failure of the criminal justice system to protect the public from people like Cortrell Rose,” Guest said in a telephone interview.

Guest said he hopes Edhegard’s family and friends will find some comfort in knowing that Rose will now spend the rest of his life in prison.

Guest said Rose had broken into Edhegard’s home in the weeks before the killing and stolen several items, including her .22-caliber pistol. He had that gun when he broke into the house again the day of the slaying, but left when Edhegard didn’t get home as early as expected because she had gone shopping, Guest said.

When Edhegard did get home, authorities say Rose rushed in behind her and tied her up.

Rankin County Sheriff’s Department investigator Wayne Humphreys testified during a preliminary hearing last year that Rose confessed and described a horrific scene. Humphreys said Rose told investigators he used a scarf and telephone cord to bind Edhegard’s hands and feet before ransacking the house looking for valuables. He later put a bag over Edhegard’s head and strangled her in her bed with the cord from a curling iron, Humphreys said.

Authorities say Rose put Edhegard’s body in the trunk of her car and drove to the end of a dead-end street and dumped her in the woods not far from Tougaloo College in north Jackson. He then used her credit cards to shop for video game consoles and other items, investigators say.

Rose was captured the next day hiding behind a vending machine in a Jackson Wal-Mart after he ran when deputies pulled him over.