The suspect in a bizarre murder case involving sex and religion was in court for the first time.
Tuesday, the Jackson County prosecutor shed some light on a few questions surrounding the case as the media got the first look at the accused killer.
Micah Moore, 23, walked into a Jackson County courtroom Tuesday to be charged with murder. Four days earlier he walked into the Grandview Police Department and told investigators he killed his roommate, 27-year-old Bethany Deaton.
If Moore had not come forward, chances are the bizarre plot of murder, sex and religion would have died with her. Bethany Deaton's case was ruled a suicide when her body was found near Longview Lake Oct. 30 with a suicide note beside her.
"This was a horrible, horrible crime. A young woman lost her life. She lost her life in a very violent way," Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said.
According to Moore's statement to police, he killed Bethany Deaton to cover up a series of sexual assaults done to her by himself and other male roommates, including her husband, Tyler Deaton. Moore said the sexual assaults were all part of a "religious experience" and that Tyler Deaton was the leader of the religious community.
Moore also alleged that Tyler Deaton's sexual encounters went beyond just his wife and included several members of the group.
"In the probable cause statement that there was a series of affairs going on between the decedent (Bethany Deaton) and other roommates in the home, but also homosexual affairs that were going on with the spiritual leader of this group, Mr. Deaton," Baker said.
Moore said he suffocated Bethany Deaton with a plastic bag after drugging her with prescription medicines. During his first court appearance, Moore said it was Tyler Deaton who ordered him to kill his wife.
Tyler Deaton had been blogging online. His blog dates back years before his wife was murdered and even before the couple married. In them he acknowledges and seems to take pride in the fact that his feeling of family are far different than most.
For Tyler Deaton, his blog touches on personal problems, life and the Bible - more specifically how he interprets what God wants from us and how one should live their lives. There are pages talking about family. In one section he wrote, "Jesus chose family as a thing that you had to hate to be worthy of him" because family is so important to people and the real focus should be on Jesus.
On the same blog Tyler Deaton wrote, "Jesus said he came not to bring peace but the sword, turning family members against each other...that some family connections are so potent that family members will become murderous in the hurt and anger they feel when those connections are not satisfied."
Moore said Tyler Deaton was the spiritual leader of their religious community and had control over everyone in the group.
In one blog Tyler Deaton refers to wanting to be like God and wrote, "I aim my life and those around me to not be narrowed by definitions, but to be like God!"
In another blog he talks about living together in a community and said, "If you are to minister effectively, it is only accomplished through living together deeply." Tyler Deaton talks about having deep relationships with more than one person and believes the New Testament did not have the "overly individualize, isolated lifestyles that 90 percent of Western Christianity lives in."
Tyler Deaton wrote, "You cannot survive in a community if you remain selfish. Community ensures that you will change or die." He went onto write, "I want to live in a way that forces me to deal with the sins that destroy me or die. I know it's radical, people. But it's the way to go."
Currently only Moore is charged. Tyler Deaton hasn't been charged in connection to his wife's death, but prosecutors said the investigation is ongoing.
"The biggest difficulty we have in this moment is trying to go forward as quickly as we can, to get as many answers as we can for this family," Baker said.
Moore will be back in court Nov. 28.
Bethany Deaton, her husband Tyler Deaton and the suspect all have ties to the International House of Prayer. Monday night the church's president issued a statement saying Tyler Deaton led an independent group of fewer than 20 people and that "it is important to all of us that this group's secrecy and disturbing religious practices are fully exposed."
The Jackson County Sheriff's Office is asking anyone with information on past or present criminal activity relating to the smaller religious community Moore and the Deatons were involved in to contact their investigations division at 816-524-4302 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. People can also provide information through the TIPS Hotline by calling 816-474-TIPS (8477).
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