The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

November 28, 2012

Man says prayer group leader told him to kill wife

— Less than three months after he stood as a groomsman in the wedding of two friends he had known since college in Texas, Micah Moore walked into a suburban Kansas City police department and unloaded a dark secret: He had taken the woman's life at the request of her new husband, a charismatic prayer group leader.

Police said Bethany Deaton's death initially appeared to be a suicide. Officers found a note and empty bottle of over-the-counter pain medication along with her body in a minivan parked by a lake on Oct. 30.

It wasn't until Moore confessed nearly two weeks later that police announced she had been killed. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on a first-degree murder charge Wednesday.

In the criminal complaint filed in support of the charge, police detailed a stunning series of allegations that Moore made as part of his confession.

Moore, 23, lived with Deaton and her husband, Tyler, in a communal home shared by male members of their prayer group. He told police that several members had sexually assaulted Bethany Deaton and that they were worried she would tell someone. Moore said that's when Tyler Deaton ordered him to kill Bethany Deaton, according to a criminal complaint.

Tyler Deaton has not been charged in his wife's death. Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said Deaton was under investigation but declined to elaborate. Deaton does not have a listed phone number and did not respond to requests for comment The Associated Press made through Facebook and phone and email messages to his father.

Moore's attorney, Melanie Morgan, declined to comment.

Tyler and Bethany Deaton moved to Kansas City in 2009 from Texas to attend a six-month internship at the non-accredited International House of Prayer University. The two had met as freshmen at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, in 2005, and two years later Tyler started a prayer group, a former longtime member of the group told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was afraid of retaliation from Tyler Deaton.

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