PORTALES— Police used a warrant at a library here this week to seize magic and witchcraft books that had been checked out by a woman charged in the Jan. 4 death of her 6-year-old son.
The Portales woman, 24-year-old Teresa Gilman, told police “the devil was in my son.”
Gilman’s 8-year-old daughter told police that at some point on the morning her brother, Lorenzo Cabral, died, her mother poured salt in a circle around the boy’s body. Police found writing describing a “ritualistic type ceremony” in Gilman’s residence, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.
The Office of the Medical Investigator determined the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the boy’s head, with drowning a possible contributing factor.
Gilman is being held without bail at the Roosevelt County Detention Center. She has been charged with first-degree murder or, in the alternative, child abuse resulting in death, and four other counts of child abuse related to her three other children.
Gilman’s defense attorney obtained a District Court order this week directing the state Health Department to arrange a psychological evaluation to assess the woman’s competency to stand trial and her sanity at the time of her son’s death.
Gilman’s mother, Ramona Risinger, told police that when she stopped by her daughter’s home the morning of Jan. 4, the day the boy died, Gilman was pouring water into his mouth from a milk jug.
Gilman said that God and the devil had instructed her to give the boy water “to flush out the devil,” Risinger told police.
The books collected by police Thursday were “The Magic Power of White Witchcraft” by Gavin and Yvonne Frost; “Making the Gods Work for You: The Astrological Language of the Psyche,” by Caroline Casey; and “The Witch’s Book of Magical Ritual: Use the Forces of Wicca to Direct Your Psychic Powers,” by Gavin Frost.
Police also collected a book about Scientology that Gilman had checked out in the past.
“We believe the way some of the child abuse resulting in death happened can be related to stuff that’s in those books,” Ninth Judicial District Attorney Matt Chandler said in a telephone interview. “… We believe that the seance that was performed on the night in question is dictated in some of these books.”
The results of Gilman’s competency examination are expected in 60 to 90 days, Chandler said.
Chandler declined to discuss how he believes the child received the trauma injuries or what was used to deliver them.
If Gilman is found mentally competent, the case will proceed to trial. If she is not found competent to stand trial, a judge could commit Gilman to state mental health authorities if there is a finding through clear and convincing evidence that she committed the alleged crime, Chandler said.
Gilman’s three other children— an 11-month-old boy, a 3-year-old boy and an 8-year-old girl— are in the custody of Child Protective Services, Chandler said.
Gilman also has been charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.