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Confession released in murder of Bobishes

| Thursday, Feb. 13, 2003

Only hours after allegedly killing four people in Fayette County, then setting their house ablaze to cover up the crime, Mark D. Edwards Jr. reportedly went to church and prayed for forgiveness.

"Edwards was praying and asking God to help get his life together," Karen Ransaw, 17, of Uniontown, told police, according to court papers filed this week in an April 2002 quadruple killing in Fayette County.

Edwards, 20, of 41 Snyder Terrace, South Union Township, faces the prospect of the death penalty if convicted in the April 14 deaths of Larry A. Bobish Sr., 50; his wife, Joanna M. Bobish, 42; their daughter, Krystal Bobish, 17, and her unborn son, who was in the second trimester of development. Authorities are treating the death of the fetus as a homicide.

Investigators filed hundreds of documents Tuesday, publicizing Edwards' confession and the reasons he gave for shooting an entire family before burning their home.

Ultimately, it was his conscience that led him to confess, according to police.

"He said he wanted to tell this officer everything and make peace with God," Trooper John F. Marshall wrote in a report.

Edwards also told a girlfriend before the murders occurred that he was considering killing Larry Bobish Sr.

"He said he wasn't going to jail for robbery. If he was going to go to jail, it would be for life," Brook Porter, of Connellsville, wrote in a signed statement to police.

Edwards gave the statement after his arrest on April 18.

He told investigators that he killed the family because "he didn't want them (the Bobishes) to call police" about an April 12 robbery.

The court papers filed in the case indicate that Larry Bobish Sr. was selling illegal drugs in the form of "wet," the slang term for PCP-laced formaldehyde. Either marijuana or otherwise-legal smoking materials are dipped into the liquid, then smoked.

Edwards allegedly told investigators he robbed the family of six bottles of the mixture at gunpoint, little more than a day before the shootings.

Edwards said Larry Sr. was calling and threatening to call police and turn him in for robbery.

In a written statement given after his arrest, Edwards rambles in barely understandable English before closing in what reads like an ending flourish on a high-school yearbook signature:

"One love

"RIP

"Bobbish

"Sorry

"But can't

"change to

"past just

"half to

"deal with

"the future

"Sorry!"

Edwards wrote at the close of a two-page statement.

The court papers include text from the police interview with the lone survivor of the attack, Larry Bobish Jr.

Bobish, who was 12 at the time of the attack, testified at a preliminary hearing in June 2002 that he witnessed his mother and father being shot before wrestling with Edwards.

From his hospital bed, he told investigators the day before Edwards' arrest: "A man came into our house. He shot my mom and dad and set our house on fire."

During the brief interview, which is transcribed in the court papers, Bobish picked out a photo of Edwards.

"What did he do when he came in?" asked a state trooper.

"He just came in and started shooting," Bobish said.

"Who did he shoot first?"

"He shot Dad first, then Mom and then my sister."

"Then what?"

"Then he started kicking me."

"Did he do anything else to you?"

"He cut me with something on my neck."

"When did you get out of the house?"

"After the fire started. The smoke woke me up and I ran outside."

"Did you get shot?"

"Don't think so," Bobish said.

The boy, now 13, had actually been shot once, with the bullet passing through his hand and ear before striking his head.

He is recovering from his injuries, but still bears several scars on his neck and face.

The massive filing paves the way for probable defense motions challenging the evidence before trial.

Fayette County District Attorney Nancy Vernon, who has described the crime as a "gruesome, execution-style killing," refused to discuss the specifics of the case Wednesday.

"We're ready to go to trial," she said.

Edwards' attorney, Assistant Public Defender Susan Ritz Harper, could not be reached for comment.

Edwards is awaiting trial in the Fayette County Prison. Under state law, no bail amount has been set.

Junker is a reporter for the Tribune-Review.

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