HILLSBORO (August 23, 2013)--Edwin Odell Collins, 41, of Whitney, who said he and his children were trying to elude someone in the predawn darkness when he killed his teenage daughter with a shotgun blast more than a year ago, was indicted for murder Friday.
Collins told deputies he shot and killed his daughter Judith, 15, with a 12 gauge shotgun while he and his three children were trying to elude someone he claimed was chasing them in predawn darkness early in the morning on July 24, 2012, an arrest affidavit said.
Collins was charged with murder on the same day in connection with the deadly shooting and was later freed on $500,000 bond, but the Hill County District Attorney’s Office didn’t receive the case until last month.
The Hill County Sheriff’s Office said it didn’t forward the results of its investigation to prosecutors until July because it was waiting for results from evidence processed by the Department of Public Safety crime lab.
A judge appointed Waco lawyers Bill and Susan Johnston to handle the case in response to a request from Hill County District Attorney Mark Pratt for a special prosecutor and Bill Johnston presented the case to the Hill County Grand Jury Friday.
Pratt, who took office in January, said he sought the special prosecutor because he handled a civil protective order against Edwin Collins while serving as county attorney.
Collins told deputies last year that he and his children were trying to elude someone he said was chasing them and eventually ended up running through a dense wooded area while trying to escape, an arrest warrant affidavit said.
At some point Judith screamed and Collins said he fired a shot in the direction of the noise, according to the affidavit.
He said he was standing about 10 feet away from Judith when he fired the shotgun, the affidavit said.
The blast struck her in the back.
The affidavit says Collins knew he had killed his daughter, but says he and the other two children remained hidden in the woods until daylight.
Collins' teenage son eventually led deputies to his sister's body in the wooded area beside a cultivated field at FM 933 and FM 1713.
She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Judith Collins participated in one-act play, track and field, and choir at Whitney Middle School and was about to enter Whitney High School.