Prosecutors oppose separate trials in death of 9-year-old

Relates to:
Date: 2003-04-30

Prosecutors oppose separate trials in death of 9-year-old

Kansas City Star/April 30, 2003
By Tony Rizzo

Johnson County prosecutors said Tuesday that they adamantly oppose separate murder trials for the parents and baby sitter of Brian Edgar.

A hearing is scheduled today in Johnson County District Court on the request for a separate trial filed last week by Christy Edgar.

Christy Edgar, her husband, Neil Edgar Sr., and baby sitter Chasity Boyd are charged in Johnson County District Court with first-degree felony murder in the child-abuse death of the 9-year-old boy in December.

The lawyers for Neil Edgar and Boyd are not asking for separate trials.

The prosecution's theory, outlined in Tuesday's response, alleges that all three defendants were involved directly or as aiders and abettors in the systematic abuse of Brian and two siblings.

"All three Edgar children were regularly tied up and bound with duct tape and various ligatures," prosecutors wrote.

According to preliminary hearing testimony, Brian died from asphyxiation after he was wrapped "like a mummy" with duct tape.

Neil Edgar was the only one of the three defendants to speak with police after Brian's death, and he took sole responsibility for restraining Brian, according to the prosecution's response.

But according to preliminary hearing testimony, it was Christy Edgar and Boyd who bound Brian the night before he died.

Christy Edgar's lawyer, Bob Thomas, said her right to a fair trial would be hurt because the defendants would be using antagonistic defenses, implicating one another.

But prosecutors argue that the case warrants one trial because the charges and facts are identical for each defendant.

District Attorney Paul Morrison and Assistant District Attorney Patrick Carney also argued that because the surviving Edgar children are witnesses in the case, it would be less traumatic for them if they had to testify only once.

"It would be difficult to overstate the amount of trauma each child experiences when these matters go to court," prosecutors wrote.

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