Posts Tagged “amen”

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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