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Lawyers for Two to Seek Separate Trials • Sunday April 20, 2003

AP, Apr. 19, 2003

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — Lawyers for two of the three people accused in the death of an adopted Kansas City, Kan., boy said they would seek separate trials.

Friday’s announcement came after a Johnson County District Court judge on Thursday ordered the parents and baby sitter of 9-year-old Brian Edgar to trial on first-degree murder charges.

Neil Edgar Sr., his wife, Christy Edgar, and their babysitter, Chasity Boyd, were charged with killing Brian in December.

Their lawyers made it clear Friday that there would be no common defense, because at least one of the defendants would implicate the others.

“There’s no question there will be antagonistic defenses,” said Carl Cornwell, attorney for Neil Edgar.

Cornwell began staking out his position at Thursday’s preliminary hearing when he sought to distance Neil Edgar’s actions from those of his co-defendants.

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

Christy Edgar and Boyd allegedly wrapped Brian 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.

However, 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 Friday 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 probably would 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 would be separated for trial. That issue needs to be decided before trial dates can be set, the judge said.

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