Posts Tagged “Javon Thompson”

Concerning the starved toddler case I referred to just a few days ago, and I’ve blogged about previously: Verdicts are in. The AP reports via MSNBC (WebCite cached article):

The leader of a household that authorities described as a religious cult was convicted Tuesday along with two other people of starving a 1-year-old boy to death because he did not say “Amen” during a mealtime prayer.

Jurors convicted the leader, Queen Antoinette, 41, of second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in the death of Javon Thompson, who was 15 or 16 months old when he died in December 2006 or January 2007.

Antoinette’s daughter, Trevia Williams, 22, and another follower, Marcus A. Cobbs, 23, were also found guilty of second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death. Cobbs was also convicted of accessory after the fact.

This result was not improbable, given the defendants represented themselves:

Antoinette, Williams and Cobbs represented themselves at trial. They did not testify or call any witnesses. Antoinette introduced a single piece of evidence: a copy of a handwritten application for nonprofit status for her organization, 1 Mind Ministries. In that document, she described herself “as a chosen daughter of the most high God and a queen of Jesus Christ.”

In their closing arguments, Antoinette and Cobbs accused prosecutors and the media of conspiring to condemn them.

“We’ve been like pariahs,” Antoinette said. “These people want to blame someone for this child’s death, so they’ve chosen us.”

So little Javon Thompson dropped dead all by himself after wasting away for days … but not because you wanted him starved and because he was never fed? Got it. Makes no sense to me, but I got it.

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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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Back in August I blogged on the death of Javon Thompson, a 1-year-old who was killed by his own mother because he didn’t say “amen” after meals. The AP reports (via MSNBC) on the mother’s unusual guilty plea:

A former religious cult member pleaded guilty Monday to starving her 1-year-old son to death after making an unusual deal with prosecutors: If the child is resurrected, her plea will be withdrawn.

Ria Ramkissoon, 22, also agreed to testify against four other members of the now-defunct religious group known as 1 Mind Ministries. All four are charged with first-degree murder in the death of Javon Thompson.

According to a statement of facts, the cult members stopped feeding the boy when he refused to say “Amen” after a meal. After Javon died, Ramkissoon sat next to his decomposing body and prayed for his resurrection.

Ramkissoon’s attorney, naturally, defended this defendant-indulging plea deal:

Ramkissoon’s attorney, Steven D. Silverman, said Ramkissoon believes the resurrection will occur. She agreed to plead guilty only after prosecutors said they would drop the charges if the child comes back to life, Silverman said.

“This is something that she absolutely insisted upon, and this is indicative of the fact that she is still brainwashed, still a victim of this cult,” he said. “Until she’s deprogrammed, she’s not going to think any differently.”

While I can understand a defense attorney indulging his client — after all, they make their livings indulging sociopaths — no explanation is offered for why the prosecution or the judge chose to indulge the defendant with this bizarre plea. I’m not sure that it’s wise for the justice system to participate in and endorse the pathological religious delusions of a woman who would kill her own son.

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I find it staggering and bewildering that Christianity — so often referred to as “the religion of love” — has provided so many people with so many opportunities to abuse and/or kill children, in Jesus’ name. I already blogged about one such case in Wisconsin. The latest such event actually took place several months ago; authorities only just now got around to charging anyone for it:

A Baltimore woman who police say is connected to a religious cult has been charged with first- degree murder in the death of her child, according to court documents obtained yesterday.

Ria Ramkissoon, 21, also known as “Princess Marie,” additionally is charged with child abuse, reckless endangerment and other offenses in the death of 21-month-old Javon Thompson. In December 2006, Ramkissoon had taken her son and joined the religious group, 1 Mind Ministries, which operated for a time out of East Baltimore, according to relatives and police.

Court documents say cult members starved the toddler to death and kept his remains in a suitcase for more than a year, until Baltimore homicide detectives found the body in Philadelphia. …

The leader of 1 Mind Ministries, who identifies herself as Queen Antoinette, had a problem with Javon, who a police source in court papers said would not comply with the group’s ritual of saying “amen” after meals.

Court papers say that the more Queen Antoinette pressed the toddler, the more resistant he became and that he was subsequently deprived of food and water as punishment. Javon became thinner and developed dark circles around his eyes, the source told police.

The boy eventually stopped breathing, but the group — which included Javon’s mother — sought no medical assistance, court papers allege. The police source said Javon’s body was placed in a back room at the group’s headquarters in the 3200 block of Auchentoroly Terrace in West Baltimore. Queen Antoinette told the group that Javon would be raised from the dead, according to court papers.

Clearly a young child — barely an infant — who refuses to say “amen” after meals, deserves to be starved to death! And when he does, that’s OK ’cause Jesus will raise him up again! Obviously!

Well, maybe not “obviously” to you or me … but to the religious mind, especially in Christianity wherein “with God, all things are possible” (Mt 19:26a), it makes perfect sense.

In case you feel like monitoring this case, the Baltimore Sun has a page listing all related stories; as new ones are published they should appear there. I wonder if the criminal case will proceed very far; courts in the US are loath to do anything about people who kill in the name of religion, so I don’t expect very good results. Of course, no charges likely would have been filed, had this taken place in Texas, because there, harming people in the name of religion is acceptable. In the Lone Star State, so long as you can claim God is on your side, it’s open season — even on your own kids!

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