One burglary charge was dismissed and another was bound over to Hall County District Court following a hearing for a man charged with breaking into a woman's apartment and stealing her underwear on numerous occasions.
Dillon M. Edwards, 26, of 3111 W. College St., Apt. 60, was charged with felony burglary for a Sept. 9, 2012, incident, and misdemeanor stalking for incidents involving Ericka Sheehan and her residence at 3013 Stolley Park Road, Apt. 74. He was also charged with burglary for a May 6 incident involving the same woman.
After a preliminary hearing in Hall County Court Tuesday, Judge Philip Martin dismissed the May 6 case because, he said, the state failed to show Edwards had entered Sheehan's home with the intent to commit a felony or steal property of value. He bound the other case over to Hall County District Court for arraignment on Oct. 22.
Grand Island police investigator Mike Nelson testified at the preliminary hearing that Sheehan reported her apartment had been burglarized on May 6. Similar incidents had occurred before and, out of frustration, she set up a wildlife trail camera. She placed the camera on a bookshelf in her living room. The camera captured images of Edwards entering Sheehan's apartment on May 6, Nelson said.
She reported to police that at least 20 pairs of underwear and two bras had been taken in prior burglaries, Nelson said. He couldn't say for sure whether anything had been stolen during the May 6 burglary.
Sheehan identified Edwards as someone she met in the hallway of her apartment complex. She went on one date with him in August 2012 and had several other conversations with him in her apartment. However, when he pressed the idea of a sexual relationship she cut off contact, Nelson said.
Sheehan told police she didn't give Edwards a key to her apartment, nor did he have permission to enter when she wasn't there, Nelson said.
The series of photos from the trail camera showed Edwards entering the apartment with a bag over his shoulder and what “appears to possibly be a key” in his hand, Nelson said. Several of the exposures are “whited out” due to the camera's flash, and one of the images shows a different view of the apartment that led Nelson to believe Edwards had seen the camera and moved it.
Sheehan also reported a burglary on Sept. 7, 2012. At that time, window blinds, a curtain and a piece of wood holding the window shut had been stolen. There had been three or four previous break-ins but she hadn't reported them because only things of minimal value had been taken, Nelson said.
Fingerprints were taken from the window sill and were later matched to Edwards' fingerprints when he was arrested in May, Nelson said.
Sheehan told officers Edwards had never touched the window when he'd been in her apartment, Nelson said.
Her apartment is on the ground level and, when the blinds have been removed, a person can see into Sheehan's bedroom and bathroom from outside, Nelson said.
Sheehan also reported two additional burglaries in April when blinds were taken. The only items recovered from any of the burglaries were curtains and a curtain rod that were found in the apartment complex's trash. None of Sheehan's missing items were found at Edwards' apartment, Nelson said.
Edwards' attorney, Blaine Gillett of North Platte, questioned Sheehan's credibility because she is a single woman living alone who didn't immediately report several break-ins.
Under questioning from Gillett, Nelson said Edwards told officers he had entered Sheehan's apartment in May because he'd been in the hallway and heard beeping. The door was unlocked and he went inside to investigate. Edwards said he had been at the apartment complex to visit his girlfriend, who lived in an apartment near Sheehan's, Nelson said.
Sheehan told officers she was sure she had locked her apartment door that day, he said.
Edwards has been placed on leave from his work as a choir director at Trinity United Methodist Church. He has also appeared in several Grand Island Little Theatre productions.
He was released on a 10 percent of $15,000 bond after the May burglary charge was filed. He was released on the same bond on July 1 after being arrested a second time.