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Boyfriend of mother sentenced to 30 years as part of plea bargain.

Man confesses to killing girl, 4
Boyfriend of mother sentenced to 30 years as part of plea bargain.
JOE LAMBE Staff Writer
PUBLICATION: The Kansas City Star

SECTION: JOHNSON COUNTY/METRO

DATE: April 21, 1995

EDITION: JOHNSON COUNTY

Page: C3
Four-year-old Briiana Buersmeyer’s mother said the girl would cry when she went to work and left her with a live-in boyfriend.
Police found the child’s body on March 18, 1994, in a few inches of bath water. She had severe head and stomach injuries and bruises.

On Thursday, the boyfriend, Lawrence M. Edwards, an escapee from a Kansas City halfway house for state prison parolees, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, attempted rape and attempted sodomy. He admitted he beat Briiana to death.

In accordance with the plea deal, Jackson County Circuit Judge Ronald R. Holliger sentenced Edwards to 30 years in prison.

“All crimes of violence are despicable,” the judge told Edwards, 26. “Even worse are the crimes against children.”

Prosecutors agreed to drop charges of assault and child abuse as part of the plea. The main evidence against Edwards was provided by co-defendant Gina Buersmeyer, Briiana’s mother.

Also on Thursday, Circuit Judge K. Preston Dean sentenced Buersmeyer, 30, to five years in prison but specified she is to be released on probation after 120 days – part of a separate plea deal. She pleaded guilty to two counts of endangering a child.

Amy McGowan, an assistant county prosecutor, said Buersmeyer was to testify against Edwards but his plea made that unnecessary.

John Picerno, Buersmeyer’s lawyer, said his client met Edwards shortly before her daughter’s death. That was after he escaped from the halfway house after a robbery conviction.

“Gina was as much a victim as anyone,” he said. “This guy was just an animal.