Ole Brook graduates honor a classmate taken too soon

Published 8:34 pm Friday, May 24, 2024

BROOKHAVEN — Austin Edwards should have walked across the football field at Brookhaven High School, diploma in hand to the applause of his family Friday evening. Sadly, he and seven other people were killed the night of May 27, 2017 in Bogue Chitto. 

Brookhaven High School’s graduating class honored him Friday. A minute of silence was held for Edwards and two candles were lit on the track at Brookhaven High School before graduation speeches started Friday night. A hush fell on the chattering crowd of people as heads bowed. 

Edwards was going into sixth grade at Lipsey Middle School when his life was tragically cut short in a mass shooting spree. Lipsey principal Rita Robinson reminded Edwards classmates when school started for the 2017-18 school year to carry his kind and friendly spirit on. 

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“He will be forever part of your life,” she said. “When you get ready to graduate Brookhaven High School, Austin Edwards will be there and you need to recognize that. He will always be part of this class and will always remain in our hearts.”

Man remains on death row

The day comes soon after the Mississippi Supreme Court denied an appeal by Willie Cory Godbolt for a rehearing. 

Godbolt was convicted in February 2020 of capital murder for the 2017 slayings of Lincoln County Deputy William Durr, and three other people — Austin Edwards, Jordan Blackwell and Sheila Burage. Godbolt also received life in prison for the murders of Brenda May, Toccara May, Barbara Mitchell and Ferral Burage, life in prison for the attempted murder of Kees and life for the kidnapping of Xavier Lilly, 20 years for the kidnapping of LaPeatra Stafford and 20 years for armed robbery.