Prosecutor: Religious Leader Ordered Murder of Wife, Bethany Deaton
INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker confirmed on Tuesday that Micah Moore told detectives that he killed 27-year-old Bethany Ann Deaton on the order of her husband, Tyler Deaton. Moore said Tyler Deaton is the leader of a close-knit religious group involved in sex with each other. Tyler Deaton has not been charged with any wrongdoing in connection to the death of his wife.
Moore, 23, made his first court appearance Tuesday morning. Court documents said he admitted to suffocating Deaton because members of the group feared she would reveal to her therapist ongoing sexual activity that Moore considered sexual assault.
Investigators said Moore lived with Deaton, her husband and other men. A probable cause statement reveals Moore told a detective he and the other men in the home, including Deaton’s own husband, drugged her and sexually assaulted her for months.
“There was a series of affairs going on between the descendant and other roommates in the home, but also as you referred to homosexual affairs going on with the spiritual leader of this group, Mr. Deaton,” said Jean Peters Baker, Jackson County Prosecutor.
Related: Deaton Murder Cover-Up
Jackson County authorities said Deaton’s death in late October initially appeared to be a suicide, until Moore confessed to killing her on Friday, Nov. 9.
“The most 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 who loved this young woman,” Peters Baker said. “She was a daughter, loved very much by her family. We want to get justice for her.”
Deaton was found dead in the backseat of a van on Oct. 30, at Longview Lake. Near her body was an empty bottle of Acetaminophen PM. A probable cause statement said there was also a note that read, “My name is Bethany Deaton. I chose this evil thing. I did it because I wouldn’t be a real person and what is the point of living if it is too late for that? I wish I had chosen differently a long time ago. I knew it all and refused to listen. Maybe Jesus will still save me.”
Deaton’s family lives in Texas. Her father released a statement Monday about her death.
“We are deeply grieving the loss of our beautiful and innocent daughter. We are shocked and horrified by the information now coming forth. The betrayal, the subtle and increasing manipulation, and the brutal victimization which occurred is beyond tragic. We pray for the truth to be revealed. While it is important to understand how Bethany died, it is even more important to understand how she lived. Because of the ongoing investigation, we do not have any further comment at this time,” the statement read.
Moore has been charged with first-degree murder and is being held on a $250,000 cash bond.