Powerball winner edwards dies at 58 local news dailyindependent.com save electricity images


Edwards was thrust into the national spotlight in August 2001, when he won a one-fourth share of a $280 million Powerball jackpot, which was, at the time, the third-largest lottery pot in U.S. history. He opted for a lump-sum payment of $41 million, banking $27 million after taxes.

At the time of his massive windfall, Edwards was 46, laid off from his job installing fiber-optic cable and living in his late parents’ house on Victoria Avenue in Westwood. He had borrowed money from a friend to get his water turned back on, and, after doing so, had enough left for he and his then-fiancee, Shawna Maddux, 19 years Edwards’ junior, to go out for drinks at the Ashland Plaza Hotel Along the way, the couple stopped at Clark’s Pump-N-Shop on Wheatley Road and Edwards bought $7 worth of Powerball tickets.

Edwards learned he’d hit the jackpot when he heard the winning numbers announced on the radio in his car in the Ashland Plaza parking lot. He would later tell reporters he picked the winning numbers himself, rather than relying on the computer to do it for him, and he felt God had compelled him to choose the winning numbers.

Several days after his monumental win, Edwards and Maddux stood before television cameras at the Louisville Slugger Museum, where Edwards received his ceremonial check. Reporters grilled Edwards about his past, which included a stint behind bars for the armed robbery of a convenience store 20 years earlier and repeated parole violations that kept sending him back to prison.

“I didn’t want to accept this money by saying I’m going to get mansions and I’m going to get cars, I’m going to do this and that,” he said. “I would like to accept it with humility. I want this money to last, for me, for my future wife, for my daughter and future generations."

During his time in Florida, Edwards amassed a fleet of exotic cars, for which he paid more than $1 million. He also told NBC News he paid $78,000 for the gold-and-diamond watch on his wrist and $159,000 for the ring he wore. He also boasted of having 200 swords in his collection of replica medieval weapons, and a plasma TV he said set him back $30,000.

Edwards also bought a $600,000 house in Palm Springs, Calif., his own limo company, a $1.9 million Lear jet, three racehorses and a fiber-optics installation company, which he acquired for $4.5 million. A year after he’d won the lottery, he estimated he’d spent $12 million.

In addition to spending profligately on himself and his family, Edwards reportedly gave generously to old friends who hit him up for cash. He also donated to several local nonprofit organizations, including the Westwood Volunteer Fire Department and the Westwood Boys Club.

The Edwardses’ life eventually began to spiral out of control, fueled, according to a Florida newspaper account, by their escalating drug use. Police were called to their home on one occasion in 2004 after Shawna Edwards stabbed her husband with a crack pipe.

The Edwardses eventually lost their mansion to foreclosure and moved into a warehouse complex David Edwards had rented to store his cars and furniture. At the beginning of 2007, Shawna Edwards drove her husband to Orlando and checked him into a hospital. He could barely walk. Not long after that, Edwards’ ex-wife and her husband drove Edwards back to Kentucky.

The Edwardses would eventually divorce, and, in August, Shawna Edwards, now known as Shawna Johnson, was arrested on a first-degree assault charge for allegedly stabbing her boyfriend in a Scott County motel. The victim suffered 10 or 11 stab wounds, but his injuries were nonlife-threatening, police said. Johnson could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison if she is convicted.