Alton man who laughed and bragged about stabbing found guilty of first-degree murder

An Alton man has been convicted of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of another man outside a house in Alton last year.

A Madison County jury found Brian L. Edelen, 31, guilty of the charge Thursday, a news release from State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons’ office stated. He had previously admitted to stabbing John C. Jackson, 41, in the neck on Nov. 29, 2018, and leaving him to die at the scene.

Edelen hid from law enforcement for 16 days following the killing, until he was found in a Bunker Hill residence with four knives on him on Dec. 14, 2018. The news release stated that he was found by Alton police and U.S. Marshals.

During the trial, Assistant State’s Attorneys Kerri Davis and Jacob Harlow shared a jail phone call of Edelen bragging and laughing about murdering Jackson, the news release stated. Other evidence against him included video surveillance cameras, audio recordings and text messages where Edelen stated he should have murdered Jackson’s girlfriend and friend, too.

When Edelen testified at the trial, the release stated, he admitted to lying when he is angry and said he did not mean those remarks.

Edelen has a prior criminal history with two felony convictions of aggravated battery in 2006 and felon in possession of a firearm in 2013.

“Mr. Jackson was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Gibbons said Thursday. “I want to express my deepest condolences to Mr. Jackson’s family and friends. The senseless acts of the defendant have left children to grow up without a father and Miss Shaw to live without her beloved fiance of seven years.”

Edelen’s sentencing will be held at a later date. According to the release, he will be sentenced to serve 100 percent of a 20- to 60-year sentence.

Hana Muslic has been a public safety reporter for the Belleville News-Democrat since August 2018, covering everything from crime and courts to accidents, fires and natural disasters. She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Journalism and her previous work can be found in The Lincoln Journal-Star and The Kansas City Star.