Olathe, Kansas -- A woman was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison for killing her 9-year-old adopted son by wrapping him in duct tape as punishment for stealing cookies.
The boy was left overnight with only his nose uncovered and suffocated on his own vomit at the family's home in Overland Park, west of Kansas City.
Christy Edgar, her husband, Neil, and six other people were charged with abusing the couple's three adopted children and another boy who knew the family. Those involved included the couple's baby sitter and members of God's Creation Outreach Ministry, a storefront church in Kansas City where the Edgars served as pastors.
The woman "was the ringleader of a group that tortured little kids and killed one of them," prosecutor Paul Morrison said.
Moments before she was about to go on trial in August, Christy Edgar unexpectedly pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the December 2002 death, along with two counts of abusing other children in the family.
She entered the pleas against the advice of her attorney, Kevin Moriarty, who told the court Wednesday his client did not understand the consequences of her decision.
Edgar insisted she was innocent, making a rambling speech before Judge John Bennett, who refused to toss out her guilty pleas.
"There's a lot of lies that went on," she said.
Christy Edgar also received a pair of 32-month sentences for child abuse. She will be eligible for parole in 20 years.
Neil Edgar and baby sitter Chasity Boyd were convicted of first-degree murder and child-abuse charges in September. Both were sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole for 20 years.
Prosecutors said the husband did not participate in the abuse but knew it was happening and did nothing to stop it.
Five members of the couple's church, including Neil Edgar's sister Julia Edgar-Montgomery, have pleaded no contest to attempted abuse of a child. Edgar-Montgomery, 55, was sentenced to 13 months in jail Wednesday morning.