OLATHE, Kan. (AP) – A woman unexpectedly pleaded guilty to murder and child abuse Thursday just as her trial was beginning in the death of her adopted son, who suffocated after he was bound in duct tape.
Attorney Bob Thomas told the judge that Christy Edgar was changing her plea against his advice. “This is not tactical. … It’s her decision,” he said.
Attorneys for Neil Edgar and Boyd said they were not changing their innocent pleas.
Brian Edgar, 9, died Dec. 30. His father brought him to a hospital from the family home in Overland Park, where prosecutors say he had been wrapped from head to toe with duct tape, leaving only his nose uncovered and causing him to suffocate on vomit.
At a preliminary hearing, an older sibling testified Brian was being punished for stealing food. Attorneys for each defendant had indicated they would argue the other two adults were to blame for the boy’s death.
The Edgars were pastors of God’s Christian Outreach Ministry in Kansas City, Kan. Five other church members face charges of abusing three of the Edgars’ children and a friend of the children.
Christy Edgar’s sentencing was set for Nov. 5. She faces mandatory life in prison without the possibility of parole for 20 years for first-degree murder, and nearly three years each on two abuse counts. If convicted, Neil Edgar and Boyd face the same terms.