Wow this is so messed up, and so wrong!
A religious cult leader ordered a baby to be starved to death after failing to say ‘Amen’ before a meal, a court heard yesterday.
Christian Queen Antoinette ordered 16-month-old Javon Thompson be deprived of food after he failed to thank God before eating, it is claimed.
The 41-year-old is on trial for murder along with her daughter, Trevia Williams, 22, and Marcus Cobbs, 23.
As the boy died, between December 2006 and January 2007, the three members of the now-defunct 1 Mind Ministries are said to have prayed for his resurrection.
They then destroyed all evidence of his death and stuffed his body in a suitcase, which they hid in a shed behind a home in Philadelphia, assistant state's attorney Julie Drake told jurors.
The jury heard how Javon’s mother, Ria Ramkissoon, was recruited into he cult and did nothing to stop him from wasting away, even though she was 'distraught' over his slow and agonising death.
Ramkissoon pleaded guilty last year to child abuse resulting in death and plans to testify against Antoinette, Williams and Cobbs.
At her insistence, the plea deal included an extraordinary provision: ‘If Javon comes back to life, the plea will be vacated.’
Ramkissoon, then a teenage single mother, joined the cult because she wanted to become a Christian and was told she wouldn't have to work or go to school, Drake said.
The members lived together in a small apartment and were forced to abide by an increasingly strict set of rules, and Antoinette was 'leery' of Javon, it was claimed.
'If she perceived a rebellious spirit in someone, she would characterise it as demonic,' Drake said.
The cult members 'did everything they could think of' to make Javon say 'Amen' before Antoinette ordered them not to feed him until he did, she told the court.
Antoinette later took the boy away from his mother and placed him in Williams' care, the prosecutor said.
'In full view of every member of that household, Javon wasted away,' Drake said.
'If this little boy had ever had the capacity to say “Amen”, he surely lost it.
‘He could not say anything.'
Ramkissoon prayed for days for Javon to be resurrected, and Antoinette 'told her it was her fault' the boy did not come back to life, Drake said.
The three, who are representing themselves, appeared in court yesterday.
Antoinette, who is facing a first degree murder charge, declined to make an opening statement.
Williams and Cobbs - who have been charged with second degree murder - spoke briefly.
Williams suggested the prosecution's theory of the case was flawed. 'Pay attention to details,' she said.
Cobbs pledged that 'when the truth comes out,' jurors would realise the defendants are not guilty.
'The truth shall set you free,' he said. The all deny the charges.
The trial continues.