Originally created 05/11/02

Man to be freed early in public indecency case



A former Augusta man imprisoned for repeatedly exposing himself to children will be released next month.

The Georgia Court of Appeals denied an appeal Friday to override a local judge's decision to reduce the sentence of Edward Wayne Fredericks, 51.

District Attorney Danny Craig's office appealed a decision by Senior Judge Bernard J. Mulherin Sr. to reduce Mr. Fredericks' 15-year prison sentence to 7 1/2 years.

"It's disconcerting that the Court of Appeals has interpreted the case law in this way," Mr. Craig said.

Mr. Fredericks pleaded guilty to eight counts of public indecency in May 1995 and was sentenced to 20 years. Motions seeking a redress of the sentence were filed but went un-addressed for years.

In 2001, Judge Mulherin reduced Mr. Fredericks' sentence. According to the opinion of the Court of Appeals, no reason was given for the reduction of the sentence.

When the sentence was reduced, the prosecution argued that the judge's decision was made well beyond the time that appeals courts have said is within a trial judge's decision.

The Court of Appeals stated Friday in its opinion that because the motion to reconsider the sentence was made during the 30-day window, the judge was well within his rights to modify the sentence.

Mr. Fredericks is scheduled to be released in June and is expected to return to Seattle.

He was arrested by the Columbia County Sheriff's Office in 1993 after repeated complaints from girls that he had exposed himself.

He had a long history of such behavior. Before his Columbia County arrest, Mr. Fredericks had four convictions for public indecency in Cobb and Gwinnett counties. His arrest record dates back to 1977 and includes 12 arrests for public indecency.

He also had served time in prison in the 1980s for a child molestation conviction in Gwinnett County.

Reach Ashlee Griggs at (706) 823-3552 or ashlee.griggs@augustachronicle.com.