Families emotional at court appearance for pizzeria murder

36-year-old Jay Ammeri

May 25, 2011 5:46:46 PM PDT
Tension was high outside a Wake County courtroom Monday as a victim's friends and family waited for the family of the suspect accused of gunning down the owner of a north Raleigh pizzeria.

William Edwards faced a judge and after that appearance, it appeared as if the victim's family was hoping for a confrontation. They were understandably upset and emotional.

"They killed my uncle," the victim's niece, Sunia Faizy, said while crying. "They shot him in the heart, you know, in the heart, in front of his little six-month-old child."

"In front of his father, he died in his father's arms," cousin Waz Faizy added.

Minutes earlier the family watched as 36-year-old William Edwards walked into court with a smile on his face.

Edwards' family, including his wife, was on the front row. Ammeri's family and friends were in the back and left the courtroom first.

After talking with reporters, they waited and watched as Edwards' family spoke with his attorney. Sensing trouble, Wake sheriff's deputies made Ammeri's family leave the lobby.

The suspect's family was escorted out a back door but Edwards' sister stopped to speak to reporters.

"I'm sorry to the victim's family," Edwards' sister, Norma Reeves, said. "My heart breaks for them. I pray for them. I pray for peace and comfort."

Reeves stands by her brother.

"My brother is not some lunatic killer," she said. "He's not. He's a good person."

But as the victim's family pointed out, Edwards has been in trouble for violence before. In 2006, he was charged with shooting into a car and wounding a 14-year-old after arguing with teenagers in his neighborhood, and more than 20 years ago a Greensboro jury acquitted him of murder.

Reeves says there is another side to the story and that her brother wouldn't just walk into Ammeri's pizza parlor, ask for the owner and shoot him for no reason.

"People need to understand there had to have been something more to this," she said.

Monday evening, Ammeri's family issued the following written statement via email:

Mrs. Jay Waheed Ammeri and her children have been delivered a devastating blow. Jay was a loving and devoted father and husband who worked very hard to provide for his family. He was truly the embodiment of the American dream. He loved not only his own family, but also the greater community in which he lived.

This senseless and cold blooded murder has left the entire family in a state of shock and disbelief. We are left asking how a man can shoot someone in cold blood right in front of his father, wife, 13-year-old daughter, 9-year-old son, and 6-month-old daughter who isn't even old enough to yet to say "daddy."

We are crippled with grief and humbly ask that all news agencies allow us some room and distance, so that we can mourn the murder of our loving father, husband, son, cousin, brother, uncle, and friend.

The family also wishes to express their immense gratitude and appreciation to all of Jay's friends and neighbors who have so lovingly shown their support by bringing flowers, cards, and lighting candles in Jay's honor.

The family is desparate to see justice served. This ruthless and heartless monster has destroyed countless lives in the past and is no stranger to violence. It is because of this long history of aggressive violence that the family is asking for the death penalty. Anything less is not acceptable. We do not want another family to suffer like we have been ever again.

The family would like to thank the court system for refusing bail and feels justice has been served thus far.

ABC11 tried to find Edwards' wife at the nail salon, which is two doors down from the pizza shop, but her boss says she quit Friday.

Records at the Wake County courthouse show Edwards was charged with assaulting his wife but those charges were dropped earlier this month.

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