OLATHE, Kan. – The adoptive father and baby sitter of a 9-year-old boy who died after being wrapped from head-to-toe in duct tape were convicted Thursday of murder and child abuse.
Prosecutors said the boy was being punished for stealing cookies Dec. 29 when he was wrapped in duct tape with only his nose uncovered. He was left overnight, and suffocated on his own vomit.
Neil Edgar Sr., 48, and baby sitter Chasity Boyd, 20, were found guilty by a jury of first-degree murder and child abuse. Edgar’s wife, Christy, pleaded guilty last week to the same charges.
All three face mandatory sentences of life in prison without the possibility of parole for 20 years, and could face additional time on the child abuse charges.
Attorneys for Edgar Sr. and Boyd said they would appeal.
The defense had argued that Christy Edgar manipulated her husband and other members of the God’s Creation Outreach Ministry, a storefront church in Kansas City, Kan., operated by the Edgars.
Witnesses said Christy Edgar was considered a prophet and told church members that God told her to discipline children by tying them up.
The Edgars’ 16-year-old son testified that his adoptive mother and the baby sitter wrapped 9-year-old Brian up, but his father went to the store when they ran out of duct tape.
Edgar Sr., the church’s pastor, said he did not see what his wife bought. He originally claimed responsibility for Brian’s death, but said later that he was only trying to protect his wife.
“He wanted to try and save his wife and his church and look what it got him,” said his attorney, Carl Cornwell.
The baby sitter’s attorney, Bob Kuchar, said his client, a member of the Edgars’ church, had the mental capacity of a 13-year-old.
“She’s completely brainwashed by (Christy Edgar),” Kuchar said.
Five other members of the church face charges of abusing three of the Edgars’ children and another child. Prosecutors have said church members hogtied children with extension cords or belts and left them overnight.
Brian’s 12-year-old brother and 9-year-old sister testified that they also were tied up, but both said they did not think there was anything wrong with that.
The Edgars were receiving about $2,000 a month in adoption subsidies, prosecutor Paul Morrison said Thursday. “They were a commodity to those people,” he said.
Clifford Jackson, superintendent of the Church of God in Christ’s Pentecostal District Association, of which God’s Creation is a member, said he was “shocked” by the verdict, especially the first-degree murder conviction.
“There’s no evidence, not a shred of evidence, to support such a charge,” Jackson said. “I think pastor Edgar in so many ways was as much a victim in this case as anyone.