A former church pastor serving a life sentence for the child abuse death of his adopted son is not entitled to a new trial, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled Friday.
Neil Edgar Sr. was seeking a reversal of his conviction in the 2002 death of 9-year-old Brian Edgar, who died of asphyxiation after being wrapped head to toe in duct tape.
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Neil Edgar, 57, alleged on appeal that his attorney was ineffective at his trial in Johnson County District Court by conceding in closing arguments that Edgar was guilty of child abuse, but not murder.
The Kansas Court of Appeals previously ruled that Edgar was entitled to a hearing on that issue.
But in Friday’s ruling, the Supreme Court reversed the appeals court and found that Edgar failed to show a “reasonable probability” that the outcome of the trial would have been different without the attorney’s statement.
Edgar, wife Christy Edgar and baby sitter Chasity Boyd were convicted of first-degree felony murder in Brian’s death at their home in Overland Park. They also were convicted of child abuse involving two other children.
The Edgars led the God’s Creation Outreach Ministry in Kansas City, Kan.