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Lawyers Argue About Evidence in Edgar Case


Lawyers Argue About Evidence in Edgar Case

Associated Press/July 24, 2003

Olathe, Kansas -- Prosecutors have asked a Johnson County judge to allow testimony that a Johnson County husband and wife accused of murder accepted "large sums of money" to house and adopt the boy they are charged with killing and his siblings.

Prosecutors claim in the motion filed Wednesday that the payments explain why Neil and Christy Edgar would take the children into their home. The Edgars and their baby sitter, Chasity Boyd, are charged with first-degree felony murder in the death of 9-year-old Brian Edgar.

Later Wednesday, defense attorneys argued that an earlier prosecutors' motion requesting testimony about prior alleged acts of child abuse would be so prejudicial that their clients could not receive a fair trial. Carl Cornwell, who represents Neil Edgar, and Robert Kuchar, who represents Boyd, argued that District Judge John Bennett would need to hear testimony from the children making the abuse claims before making a decision.

District Attorney Paul Morrision told Bennett the evidence should be allowed, claiming the alleged prior incidents of "bizarre forms" of corporal punishment would show Brian Edgar's injuries were not accidental and the defendants knew the boy was being abused.

Prosecutors alleged in earlier motions that Neil Edgar used an electric stun gun to discipline another child. Cornwell said the alleged 1999 stun gun incident had no relevance to Brian Edgar's death in December.

Kuchar said that allegations Boyd beat and bound a child were uncorroborated, old and were never reported to police.

Brian Edgar suffocated after being restrained with duct tape, according to previous court testimony.

Bennett said he would take the prosecution requests under advisement and issue a written ruling. Bennett is expected to hear arguments on the testimony about payments to the Edgars on Aug. 15.

Prosecutors want to introduce testimony from a social worker who claims the Edgars declined to take a foster child from Missouri unless they were paid. The prosecutors' motion describes money paid to the Edgars by the state of Kansas for foster parenting.

The trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 15

2003 Jul 24