A life without parole sentence for a Shawnee man found guilty in the 2008 shooting death of his wife has been overturned by a state appeals court.

A life without parole sentence for a Shawnee man found guilty in the 2008 shooting death of his wife has been overturned by a state appeals court.

The case for Edwin Leroy Scoby, 51, will now return to Pottawatomie County District Court for purposes of re-sentencing.
Scoby was convicted following his trial in 2010 of shooting Nina E. Johnson-Scoby in the face with a .44-caliber revolver on Aug. 5, 2008.

The Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has upheld his first-degree murder conviction, but said evidence of Scoby’s prior convictions, which included armed robbery and criminal possession of firearms, was improperly presented to the jury during the sentencing phase of his trial.

“We’re pleased anytime we receive any potential relief for any of our clients,” said defense attorney Kathleen Smith, who works for the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System.

Scoby could receive the same sentence or be given a life sentence with the possibility of parole, Smith said.

District Attorney Richard Smothermon said Scoby will face retrial for purposes of sentencing only, with such a trial possibly occurring during the January jury term.

Because the murder conviction is upheld, “We don’t have to prove his guilt,” Smothermon said, adding the seated jury will only decide sentencing.

Once a jury knows the facts of the case, Smothermon said he believes a jury will likely do the same thing in giving him life without parole, although they could decide to give him a life sentence, which is considered 37 years.

Scoby became a person of interest in the shooting investigation and was arrested the day of the incident when his story of events surrounding a domestic altercation at the couple’s Shawnee home didn’t match evidence police found at the scene. At the time, the couple had been married about six months and had prior incidents of domestic violence.

Court records show Nina Scoby’s body was discovered in the bedroom of the home with a single gunshot wound to the face; a revolver was in her left hand.

Scoby had called police about 3 a.m. and said his wife had shot herself. That call was made about five minutes after a police officer had escorted Scoby home after finding him walking in neighborhood, reportedly cooling off after a fight with his wife.

He was convicted after the jury heard testimony from a crime scene expert that the location of the gun was inconsistent with the woman shooting herself in the face and that his wife, who had previously broken her left wrist, did not use her left hand.

The prosecution presented evidence that the shooting wasn’t a suicide or accidental, with testimony suggesting that the shooting scene had been altered.

Funeral services for Nina Scoby were held in her hometown of Hugoton, Kan. In her obituary, Nina Scoby’s name was listed as Nina Brecheisen, using her former last name.  She is survived by a daughter and son, as well as other family members, with most residing in Kansas.

Scoby remains incarcerated with the Department of Corrections.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.