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Two defendants to seek separate trials in Edgar case


Two defendants to seek separate trials in Edgar case

The Kansas City Star/April 18, 2003
By Tony Rizzo

The parents and baby sitter of 9-year-old Brian Edgar were charged together with killing him in December.

But today, the day after a judge ordered their trial on first-degree murder charges, their lawyers made it clear there will be no common defense.

"There's no question there will be antagonistic defenses," said Carl Cornwell, attorney for the boy's father, Neil Edgar Sr.

Cornwell began staking out his position during Thursday's preliminary hearing in Johnson County District Court when he sought to distance his client's actions from those of his co-defedants.

No testimony in Thursday's hearing directly implicated Neil Edgar in the abuse that caused Brian's death.

His mother, Christy Edgar, and baby sitter, Chasity Boyd, allegedly wrapped him from head to toe in duct tape because he had stolen food, according to testimony.

He stopped breathing sometime during the night and was dead when his father took him to a hospital the next morning, according to medical testimony.

District Attorney Paul Morrison argued that Neil Edgar was equally culpable because he was at least aware that abuse was going on and helped cover up the boy's death.

District Judge John Bennett ruled that there was sufficient evidence to try all three in Brian's death.

Bob Thomas, who represents Christy Edgar, and Robert Kuchar, lawyer for Boyd, told the judge today that they would seek separate trials because of Cornwell's intention to implicate their clients.

Cornwell said he would not seek a separate trial.

Morrison told the judge that motions for separate trials would likely be "heavily resisted" by prosecutors. The main reason would be to prevent the Edgars' surviving children from being traumatized by having to testify multiple times, he said.

Bennett scheduled a hearing for April 30 to decide whether the cases will be separated for trial. That issue needs to be decided before possible trial dates can be set, the judge said.

2003 Apr 18