The preacher she’d idolised had fallen. Now, for the first time in her life, Chasity Boyd had no leader, no Messiah. At 20 years old, she dressed and spoke like a child. As she followed the legal proceedings at Kansas’ Supreme Court, she had tears in her eyes. But Chasity had bound up a little boy and left him to die…
Chasity Boyd had been a member of God’s Creation Outreach Ministry since she was 8 years old. Her mum was a member, too.
But Chasity took it very seriously. She attended services daily, went to prayer meetings and religious seminars.
Soon, she’d grown close to the church’s leader Christy Edgar – a woman who called herself the Evangelist or the Prophet. A woman who forced church members to call her ‘Mum’.
Christy and her husband Neil had set up the church in 1992. They’d been in trouble before. Financial trouble, mostly. Bills not paid, mortgage arrears…
And they’d had marital trouble. Back in 1979, Christy had filed for divorce from Neil. The divorce petition listed Christy’s fear of ‘receiving bodily harm at the hands of her husband’. She’d got a restraining order against him, too.
But setting up their own church would help them put all those troubles behind them. They’d both been ordained ministers at a local Baptist church. But this new church of theirs would be different.
Christy would be in charge as head preacher. And the church would help people overcome their problems by encouraging them to openly talk about them. Neil even told the congregation how he used to mistreat his wife.
Soon, God’s Creation Outreach Ministry had 70 members. All of them – including Chasity – thought Christy a saint for forgiving her husband.
Soon, Chasity started babysitting for Christy and Neil. The couple had two grown-up kids of their own, and had adopted another four. All were under 16.
But Christy had very special ideas about how best to discipline those three children. Special because, she said, God himself had given them to her…
He’d told her that the best way to discipline children was to tie them up and leave them like that until they knew not to misbehave again.
So, when Chasity babysat for Christy and Neil Edgar’s children, she’d tie them up if they were bad – because Christy had told her to do so.
Soon, Chasity was often at the Edgar family’s home, helping out with the kids. But Christy ran a very strict household. If her adopted kids so much as took water from the tap without permission, she’d punish them – or she’d ask Chasity to.
And that was a big problem for little Brian. Just 9 years old, he was a cheeky little thing with a sweet tooth.
On 29 December 2002, the whole family was at home. Before bed, Chasity found Brian with sticky fingers. He’d taken a biscuit from the jar without asking.
Later, a note explaining the little boy’s theft would be found by the police. It was covered in Chasity’s fingerprints.
Evangelist, it began. Brian stole a piece of your candy… By Christy’s rules, Brian deserved to be punished.
But, rather than telling the child it was wrong to steal, Chasity had told his mum.
She knew the severe punishment the little boy would face. But did that show she’d been brainwashed? Or that she was cruel?
Together, Christy and Chasity started wrapping up Brian in duct tape. Only, by the time they got to his waist, they’d run out. So Christy and Neil went to buy more. Then they carried on. They stuck a sock in Brian’s mouth, so he couldn’t cry out. Then they wrapped the tape around his head, leaving just enough space for him to breathe through his nostrils.
The court heard evidence from the Edgars’ other adopted children, and saw marks, possibly over a year old, on their skin from tight ligatures.
They told the court they’d heard their adoptive mum tell Chasity she had to tie up Brian. And they’d seen Chasity carry him to the cellar, where he spent the night alone.
Next morning, he was dead – he’d suffocated on his own vomit.
Quickly, the adults had unwrapped Brian’s dead body, disposed of the duct tape and Neil had rushed him to hospital.
‘It was an accident,’ he’d cried when he’d got there. But it was too late.
Christy was arrested, together with Neil and Chasity. And, before the case even came to trial, Christy pleaded guilty to the charge against her of first-degree murder. The Prophet had fallen.
Neil claimed he’d had nothing to do with little Brian’s death. Chasity, meanwhile, said she’d been brainwashed.
Church members gave evidence, telling the court how needy and submissive Chasity was. One former member even described the church as a cult, agreeing that Chasity had, indeed, been brainwashed.
She wasn’t a killer, they said. Rather, she was a vulnerable, young woman who’d been tricked into believing Christy Edgars was a prophet.
But would the jury believe that Chasity was innocent when they retired to consider their verdict?
Chasity Boyd was found guilty of first-degree murder, along with Neil Edgar. Both were given life sentences for murder, and will be eligible for parole in 20 years. The judge also gave them each a 32-month sentence for abusing two of the family’s other adopted children.
Christy Edgar, who’d already pleaded guilty to murder, received the same sentences and is also eligible for parole after 20 years.
In 2012, Neil Edgar appealed his conviction for murder – and lost.