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Parents, baby sitter of Brian Edgar to be tried together • Wednesday May 7, 2003

The Kansas City Star, May 5, 2003
By TONY RIZZO, The Kansas City Star

They were charged together, and now the parents and baby sitter of Brian Edgar will be tried together for his death.

A Johnson County judge today rejected Christy Edgar’s argument that she could not receive a fair trial if tried with her husband, Neil Edgar Sr.

The Edgars, and their family’s 19-year-old baby sitter, Chasity Boyd, are charged with first-degree felony murder in Brian’s death in December.

The 9-year-old suffocated after he allegedly was wrapped head-to-toe in duct tape as a punishment at the family’s Overland Park home, according to previous court testimony.

Christy Edgar’s lawyer, Bob Thomas, argued last week that because the Edgars would use “antagonistic” defenses, they should be tried separately.

During an earlier court appearance, Neil Edgar’s lawyer, Carl Cornwell, said Edgar would be implicating Christy Edgar and Boyd in the death.

Neil Edgar allegedly told police that he was solely responsible for the abuse that led to Brian’s death, but Thomas said he expected Neil Edgar would try to discredit that statement at trial.

Thomas argued that Neil Edgar’s statement implicating himself would be a key part of Christy Edgar’s defense.

Cornwell and Boyd’s lawyer, Robert Kuchar, both said they wanted all three to face trial together.

Johnson County District Attorney Paul Morrison argued that separate trials were not necessary. He said one trial would minimize the trauma to the Edgars’ surviving children, who are expected to testify about alleged abuse.

In today’s ruling, District Judge John Bennett said Christy Edgar had failed to show how she would suffer “actual prejudice” by a joint trial.

“The fact that Christy Edgar might seek to shift guilt to Neil Edgar is not an antagonistic defense if she claims ignorance of the acts,” Bennett wrote today.

Trial for all three is now scheduled for June 23 in Johnson County District Court. Their next court appearance is set for May 21 to take up pretrial motions.

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