12-year old's killer dies in prison

February 18, 2009 10:25:46 AM PST
A man who has been on death row at San Quentin State Prison for more than 22 years died Saturday, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced in a statement Tuesday.

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Thomas Francis Edwards, 65, convicted of murdering a 12-year-old girl and attempting to murder another girl in Orange County on Sept. 19, 1981, died of natural causes at the inmate hospice California Medical Facility in Vacaville, according to the CDCR.

Edwards was imprisoned at San Quentin on Dec. 26, 1986 after being convicted in Orange County two weeks earlier and sentenced to die, the CDCR reported.

According to official reports from the CDCR, 43 death row inmates have died of natural causes since capital punishment was reinstated in California in 1978, and 16 others committed suicide. A total of 14 have been executed, one of them outside the state, and five died of what CDCR officials refer to only as "other causes."

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