I blogged a couple times previously on the death of Javon Thompson, a 1-year-old boy who was starved to death by a hyperreligious mother and group in Baltimore, because he would not say “Amen” after meals. The trial of the groups leader, someone named “Queen Antoinette,” is underway. The AP reports via the New York Times (WebCite cached article):

For more than a week, Ria Ramkissoon watched passively as her 1-year-old son wasted away, denied food and water because the older woman she lived with said it was God’s will.

Javon Thompson was possessed by an evil spirit, Ramkissoon was told, because he didn’t say ”Amen” during a mealtime prayer. Javon didn’t talk much, given his age, but he had said ”Amen” before, Ramkissoon testified.

So I guess that, in their religious minds, this was sufficient reason to starve him to death. The group thought nothing of the boy’s death:

Ramkissoon and several other people knelt down and prayed that he would rise from the dead. For weeks afterward, Ramkissoon spent much of her time in a room with her son’s emaciated body — talking to him, dancing, even giving him water. She thought she could bring him back.

Ramkissoon told the tale of her son’s excruciating death from the witness stand Wednesday, at the trial of the woman she says told her not to feed the boy. Queen Antoinette was the leader of a small religious cult, according to police and prosecutors, and she faces murder charges alongside her daughter, Trevia Williams, and another follower, Marcus A. Cobbs.

The three are acting as their own attorneys.

The courts to date have indulged these people — including agreeing to a plea deal with Ramkissoon which will have her released if Javon is somehow resurrected. So I suppose allowing these wingnuts to represent themselves is yet another judicial indulgence, which is to be expected. Ramkissoon is still defiant about her beliefs, especially that her son will magically rise from the dead:

”I still believe that my son is coming back,” Ramkissoon said. ”I have no problem saying what really happened because I believe he’s coming back.

”Queen said God told her he would come back. I believe it. I choose to believe it,” she said. ”Even now, despite everything, I choose to believe it for my reasons.” …

Ramkissoon detailed how the group relocated to Philadelphia and brought Javon’s body in a suitcase. She described how Javon was packed with sheets and blankets and how she sprayed his body with disinfectant and stuffed the suitcase with fabric softener sheets to mask the odor.

The suitcase was hidden in a shed in Philadelphia for more than a year before it was discovered by police, according to testimony.

I guess the powerful odor of a dead body wasn’t quite enough to clue these wingnuts in to the idea that he wasn’t going to rise from the dead, after all.

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