January 17, 2018
Contact: Brian McNeal
Phone Number: (571) 362-1498
Sister Convicted Of Retaliating Against Witness In Brother’s Trial
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Joy McShan Edwards, 37, of Steubenville, was convicted in U.S. District Court today of retaliation against a witness.
Benjamin C. Glassman, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, Timothy J. Plancon, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration, and U.S. Marshal Pete Tobin announced the verdict, which was reached today by Chief U.S. District Judge Edmund A. Sargus, Jr, after a one-day bench trial on December 11, 2017.
Edwards’s two brothers, Fred McShan and David McShan, were convicted at a federal jury trial in March 2016 of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin in the Southern District of Ohio.
During the trial, Deputy U.S. Marshals had to escort multiple family members and friends of the McShan brothers out of the courtroom for violating the Federal Court’s cell phone policy. The family and friends had been attempting to photograph and video record witnesses in the case.
After the first day of trial, a Social Media post to Snapchat was posted by a family member, which revealed a comment about a government witness and a short video of the confidential informant’s testimony.
On May 11, the United States Probation Department released its pre-sentence investigation report and recommended sentences for Fred and David McShan. On that same day, authorities discovered Edwards made a post on her Facebook page about the confidential informant. The post included photos of the witness cropped onto a body and comments that the confidential informant was a “snitch.”
Edwards continued posting multiple images of the witness cropped onto other photographs, including images of rats and skulls.
According to the victim, the retaliation via social media has severely impacted his life and the safety of himself and his family.
“We take very seriously the safety and security of government witnesses,” U.S. Attorney Glassman said. “Those who retaliate against government witnesses will be identified and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Today’s verdict is an example.”
Retaliating against a witness, victim or an informant is a federal crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Edwards was charged by criminal complaint and arrested in June. She was indicted by a federal grand jury in August.
U.S. Attorney Glassman commended the cooperative investigation by the DEA and the U.S. Marshals Service, as well as Deputy Criminal Chief Michael J. Hunter and Jefferson County Prosecutor and Special Assistant United States Attorney Jane M. Hanlin, who are representing the United States in this case.