BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — A 6-year-old boy pleaded with his captors — a man and his adult son — as they stripped and sexually assaulted the child inside a mobile home before strangling him, a prosecutor told jurors Wednesday.
The comments were made during opening arguments in the trial of David Edenfield, 61, who faces the death penalty if convicted of the March 2007 slaying of Christopher Michael Barrios. The boy was missing for a week before police found his naked body dumped off a road and wrapped in trash bags.
Prosecutor John B. Johnson told jurors in his opening statement that they would learn the details of what happened to the boy “in the most horrible two hours of his life” from a taped confession Edenfield made to police.
Johnson said Edenfield and his son, 34-year-old George Edenfield, lured the boy into their trailer across the street from the home of Christopher’s grandmother, stripped the boy naked and took turns molesting him.
“You will hear him say this from his own mouth,” Johnson said of David Edenfield. “Christopher Barrios didn’t want to be there. He said, ‘Let me go! Please don’t do this! I’m going to tell my parents!’”
He said George Edenfield then wrapped his hands around the boy’s throat while his father “began to — instinctively, you will hear him say — place his hands on top of George Edenfield’s and help choke him.”
David Edenfield is the first suspect to stand trial in the slaying. His son and wife, Peggy Edenfield, have also been charged with molesting and killing the boy, then hiding his body. The jury was selected from residents some 90 miles away because of pretrial publicity, and the jurors are being sequestered in Brunswick.
Defense attorney James Yancey told jurors that his client’s son was a convicted child molester and told police he’d killed the boy hours after Christopher went missing.
Yancey said the elder Edenfield’s confession was influenced by the police officers who questioned him, but stopped short of telling jurors he was coerced.
Barrios lived in a mobile home park in the port city of Brunswick, about 60 miles south of Savannah, where his father and grandmother both had separate homes. He would pass the Edenfields’ trailer when walking between them.
A shy boy with a big smile that showed off the silver caps on his front teeth, he loved superheroes such as Batman and Spider-Man. When police began searching for him, they found his toy Star Wars lightsaber abandoned by the road.
The Edenfields moved into the mobile home park where the boy lived just a few months before his death. The family had been forced to move because George Edenfield was a convicted child molester. The family’s previous home was close to a playground, a violation of Georgia’s sex offender registry law.
Police discovered George Edenfield was a sex offender and questioned him a few hours after Christopher was reported missing. Court records say he confessed to choking the boy and told police “the ‘devil’ told him to kill Christopher.”
Peggy Edenfield later told investigators she watched her grown son choke the boy and then try to wash fingerprints from his neck using soap and a pot of water, according to court affidavits. She said she and her husband, David Edenfield, helped dispose of the body.
George Edenfield is still awaiting the outcome of court proceedings to determine if he’s mentally competent to stand trial. Glynn County Police Chief Matt Doering has described him as mentally slow but capable of understanding right from wrong.
Peggy Edenfield agreed to testify against her husband and son in return for a promise that prosecutors would not seek the death penalty.
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