See Update No. 3 on Page 2 about Marilyn Kay Edge agreeing to arraignment delay “only if you promise to give me the death penalty.” Update No. 2 on the next page is about the two children having been due back to their father when they died. Update No. 1 is on the charges against Ms. Edge.
ORIGINAL POST, SEPT. 16, 9:35 A.M.: Longtime readers know Orange County has a fair share of bizarre family murders without having to have more brought here from elsewhere.
But imported mayhem is what local investigators are dealing with today after Marilyn Edge–who is originally from Scottsdale, Arizona, but had been residing in San Jose–drove a car with Georgia plates into an electrical vault in Costa Mesa in an apparent attempt to kill herself after allegedly leaving the bodies of her two murdered children in a Santa Ana motel room.
Discovering the grisly murder scene began to unfold a little after 8 a.m. Saturday, when Edge crashed a gray Honda Accord into the steel poles protecting an electrical vault in the Alberton's and Home Depot shopping center at 2300 Harbor Blvd., Costa Mesa, according to police in that city.
As rescuers tried to get to Edge, she is alleged to have tried have strangled herself with a belt or rope. She was safely pulled out of the Accord and taken to Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, where she allegedly revealed during treatment she had killed her children–a 10-year-old girl and 13-year-old boy–and left their bodies in a third-floor room at the Hampton Inn N Suites in the 2700 block of Hotel Terrace, Santa Ana.
Costa Mesa Police contacted their counterparts in Santa Ana for a safety check at the motel, where the bodies of the children were found just after 9 a.m. Santa Ana detectives went to the hospital, questioned Edge and arrested her on suspicion of double murder.
The boy was reportedly autistic. Edge sued the Secretary of Health and Human Services in 2004 alleging a vaccination given to her son caused his autism, but the suit was tossed on grounds she did not provide proof to support the claim.
The father of the children, who lives out of state, was notified about their deaths Saturday.
UPDATE NO. 1, SEPT. 16, 2:51 P.M.: Marilyn Kay Edge, 42, of Scottsdale, Arizona, is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday morning in Santa Ana on two felony counts of special circumstances murder, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office (OCDA).
The special circumstances sentencing enhancements include committing multiple murders and murder by poison, explains the OCDA, adding that the accused killer of her two children faces a minimum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.
The OCDA indicated it intends to ask that Edge be held without bail.
Prosecutors identified the victims as 13-year-old Jaelen E. and 10-year-old Faith E. and added the Santa Ana police investigation continues.
City News Service reports the children's father, Mark Edge of Marietta, Georgia, had custody of them and they were supposed to be returned to him over the weekend.
UPDATE NO. 2, SEPT. 16, 5:41 P.M.: Marilyn Kay Edge allegedly poisoned her precious babies.
Cpl. Anthony Bertagna, the Santa Ana Police spokesman, reportedly disclosed autopsies on the late 13-year-old Jaelen and 10-year-old Faith indicated both were poisoned.
Paul Anderson's City News Service report also sheds more light on the custody battle between the mother-turned-murder suspect and the children's father, Mark Edge, an Air Force Reservist who had full custody of Jaelen and Faith. The kids were supposed to be returned to the dad by noon Sunday, according to his lawyer, Marian Weeks.
Mark Edge is now so grief-stricken he had to be hospitalized, Weeks reportedly disclosed.
He apparently won custody because he was the more stable parent, having landed a job helping mentally disabled and autistic adults learn how to better care for themselves, while the mother spent years violating the father's visitation rights, according to Weeks.
“Last year, he finally got visitation and she immediately moved the children to Arizona,” the attorney reportedly told City News Service of his client who resides in Georgia.
Weeks also is claimed to have noted Marilyn Edge had made false claims during custody hearings, including that a child of one of her ex-husband's friends had molested the girl. Mark Edge was also accused of physical and emotional abuse, allegations Weeks called unfounded. The father was in Afghanistan working on a defense contract and could not defend himself, Weeks reportedly said.
'He lost (his job) because of all the things she did here,” the lawyer reportedly alleged. “When you start having your wages garnished and they're saying you have financial problems, then you lose your security clearance … It took him awhile to get a job when he came back to the United States.”
The lawyer claims the children were “happy as larks” around their father. “There's video of them all bowling, fishing and swinging in the park,” Weeks reportedly said. “You can tell these kids loved their daddy.”
But before winning custody, Mark Edge estimated he had only seen his children 10 times within the last year, according to Weeks, who reportedly said his client would have been “the happiest person in the world” if his ex-wife had simply granted weekend visitations.
“But she couldn't do that. It became so obvious that she would do anything to prevent visitation with her children.”
UPDATE NO. 3, SEPT. 17, 11:06 A.M.: When an Orange County Superior Court judge asked Marilyn Kay Edge three times this morning if she agrees to have her arraignment postponed to Oct. 25, she answered quietly each time, “Only if you promise to give me the death penalty,” according to television news pool coverage from the hearing.
She spoke in sort of a monotone with her hands behind her back and head bowed down so her bushy, unkempt hair obscured her face. Her attorney asked Judge Craig Robinson for a rescheduling of the arraignment to confer with a psychiatrist and doctors treating Edge, who did not enter a plea today.
Robinson ordered Edge held without bail at Orange County Jail, where officials previously disclosed she is on suicide watch.
The prosecution has not revealed whether capital punishment will be sought, but Deputy
District Attorney Sonia Balleste reportedly said after the hearing, “This is as cold and disturbing a murder as you will see. It's an incredibly sad situation.”
Balleste reportedly told City News Service that Edge coaxed her son Jaelen and daughter Faith to Orange County to enjoy some “fun activities,” even though they were due back to their father who had custody of them in Georgia.
“Southern California is known for its beaches and Disneyland, and that may be quite an attractive thing for children of that age,'' the prosecutor reportedly said.