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Victim's siblings testify in Edgar trial


Victim's siblings testify in Edgar trial

Brother saw boy bound with tape

Kansas City Star/September 23, 2003
By Tony Rizzo

The bruises and tape residue on Brian Edgar's body could tell only part of the story. The words of his brothers and sister filled in the blanks.

In live and videotaped testimony Monday, a Johnson County District Court jury heard Brian's three siblings describe how they and Brian were tied up as punishment for stealing food and water.

On the night before Brian died, the 9-year-old was wrapped in duct tape "like a mummy" with only his nose uncovered, his 16-year-old brother testified.

The boy's father, Neil Edgar Sr., and family baby sitter, Chasity Boyd, are on trial in Brian's death. Brian's mother, Christy Edgar, pleaded guilty last week to charges of felony first-degree murder and child abuse.

When questioned by investigators, the surviving Edgar children, ages 16, 12 and 9, initially denied that their parents physically disciplined them.

In later statements to detectives that were played for jurors Monday, the 12-year-old boy and 9-year-old girl said they were tied up, but both said they did not think there was anything wrong with being disciplined that way.

"I learned my lesson," the 12-year-old said about being punished for stealing water from the faucet.

He said it happened to him only once, but his little sister described it as an almost nightly occurrence.

Brian "had sticky fingers," the 12-year-old said, and on Dec. 28 and 29, he got in trouble for taking cookies without permission.

Brian's 16-year-old brother took the witness stand Monday and said he saw his mother and Boyd wrap Brian in duct tape from his feet to his shoulders on Dec. 28.

Neil Edgar saw what was going on but did not participate, the older brother said.

The women also placed a sock in Brian's mouth because he was gnawing at the tape. They left him to sleep in a basement utility room next to the finished room where the other boys slept in the family's Overland Park house.

The 16-year-old said he visited Brian during the night, took the sock out of his mouth and gave him some candy.

"He said he was sorry," the older brother testified. "I said he can't be sorry because he kept doing it."

The 16-year-old said he put the sock back in Brian's mouth because he did not want to get in trouble.

The next night, after a day at the Kansas City, Kan., church run by the Edgars, Brian again was in trouble, and again Boyd and Christy Edgar wrapped him in duct tape, the older brother said.

They ran out of tape when Brian was wrapped up to just above his waist. Neil and Christy Edgar went to get more, and when they returned the women continued to tape Brian, this time wrapping it completely around his head, leaving only an opening for him to breathe through his nose.

"Now try to get out of this one," the 16-year-old testified one of the women told Brian, who some in the family had nicknamed "Houdini" for his ability to get himself untied.

The next morning, Brian was not breathing. Neil Edgar took him to a hospital.

Christy Edgar, Boyd and the other children gathered up the tape and other items that had been used to restrain Brian and took them to another person's house to be destroyed, the 16-year-old said.

He said his mother was very upset and referred to herself as a murderer. The son said he tried to calm her and told her it was an accident.

Carl Cornwell, the attorney for Neil Edgar, emphasized in cross-examination of the teen that Neil Edgar never saw Brian that night with tape around his head and face.

Boyd's attorney, Robert Kuchar, asked the 16-year-old why he did not try to stop the women from binding Brian.

"It shocked me, but what could I do about it?" the teen said. "I didn't want to get in trouble."

Like the other children, the oldest son described his mother as a prophet who spoke directly to God. Kuchar is expected to argue that Boyd, who was 19 at the time, was acting under the direction of Christy Edgar.

"It wasn't your place to question what the prophet wanted?" Kuchar asked the 16-year-old Monday. "It wasn't anybody's place to question the prophet?"

The son agreed.

Testimony is expected to continue this morning.

2003 Sep 23