A Superior Court Judge in Pima County, Arizona, sentenced Blake Joseph Edwards, 32, to 11 years in prison for the racially motivated aggravated assault of an African-American man inside of a restaurant last year.
Edwards, who has the words “pecker” and “wood” tattooed on his knees, was also ordered to pay $75,000 in restitution, with the possibility of more compensation ordered in the future.
The term Peckerwood is commonly used to refer to individuals with ties to white power gangs in and out of prison, as well as to actual racist skinhead gangs who have incorporated "peckerwood" into their name. The various Peckerwood gangs are largely concentrated in California, where they participate in the methamphetamine trade, and have ties to other white supremacist gangs such as the Nazi Low Riders. Peckerwood gang members have been charged with a variety of crimes ranging from dealing drugs to attempted murder.
During the July 19 sentencing, Edwards received the maximum allowable prison time under the terms of his plea agreement, although the presiding judge made note of his displeasure with the low sentencing guidelines of the agreement. The judge had originally deferred acceptance of the plea, while giving the victim time to decide if he wanted to pursue a trial. He did not.
Edward’s victim, a North Carolina resident, happened into the same restaurant as Edwards while on a business trip in Tucson, on February 22, 2006.
According to court documents, Edwards approached the victim as he was looking at a jukebox, and hit him in the face with a beer mug, lacerating his left cornea, and blinding him in that eye. The victim was additionally left with cataracts in both eyes, nerve damage to his face, and spinal injuries, necessitating numerous surgeries.
Witnesses recount hearing Edwards utter racial slurs about Mexicans and African-Americans moments before the attack.
Under the terms of Edwards’ plea agreement, prosecutors dismissed three pending charges of aggravated assault against him, in exchange for Edwards’ plea of guilty in this case. Two of those dismissed assault charges allegedly involved corrections officers at the Pima County Jail.
According to court documents, Edwards has a history of attacks on minorities and prior convictions for aggravated assault, burglary, theft, sexual abuse, and resisting arrest in Maricopa County.