Man Accused of Killing Step-Daughters Appears in Court
A Sioux City man accused of killing his two step-daughters was in Woodbury County Court Wednesday for a hearing.
The defense requested Larry Harris‘ trial to be moved because of pretrail publicity. They’re also asking that the Satanic Bible not be emphasized during the trial. After the incident, Harris told Sioux City Police he had been “casting a spell that went bad.”
Harris’ attorneys say spells and witchcraft don’t necessarily equal satanism. In an affidavit presented by the defense, the High Priest of the Church of Satan says the crimes that Harris is accused of are in no way consistent with the teachings, beliefs or practices of his church.
It should be noted that witches do no believe in Satan. Witchcraft is often erroneously confused with Satanism. However, Witches and Wiccans do not believe that Satan exists, and thus they do not worship him.
(Article continues below this ad)
Taking a break?
Documents claim slayings were satanic
SIOUX CITY — Recent court filings shed new and disturbing light on what prosecutors and police call the ritual slaying of two girls in Sioux City. It’s information defense lawyers don’t want a jury to hear.
Prosecutors say 26-year-old Lawrence Douglas Harris Sr., who faces two counts of first-degree murder for allegedly killing his 8- and 10-year-old stepdaughters in January, was practicing satanism and carefully planned the killings as a part of a spell or ritual from “The Satanic Bible.” Harris owned a spell notebook, prosecutors say, that contained references to and drawings from “The Satanic Bible,” widely considered the founding document of the Church of Satan, “Necronomicom,” the so-called dangerous book of the dead invented by author H.P. Lovecraft and “Pagan Ways,” an introduction to Paganism.
Passages from “The Satanic Bible,” prosecutors say, are consistent with the injuries and cause of death of the two children.
Harris’ defense team, however, wants to stop prosecutors from referring to Satanism, the Church of Satan or the terms satanic, wiccan and paganism. Assistant public defenders Michael Williams and Bryan Goodman, in an Aug. 1 filing in district court, argue those terms aren’t relevant and could prejudice jurors.
“The prejudice against the religions and organizations is culled instantly by the names themselves,” defense attorneys wrote.
Assistant Woodbury County Attorney Mark Campbell filed a response a few days later saying the presentation of that evidence is critical to the state’s case against Harris and could prove he wasn’t insane at the time of the killings.
The Woodbury County Attorney’s Office says in a response filed Aug. 7 that the evidence is necessary, alleging Harris was performing a spell or ritual from “The Satanic Bible” when the girls died.
They evidence of Harris’s belief in these texts is proof he wasn’t mentally ill or committing a psychotic act, but was conducting a spell or ritual.
“Passages from ‘The Satanic Bible’ are relevant evidence regarding the fact that it was the defendant who killed the children, since the killings appear to have been part of a ritual the defendant had planned,” prosecutors wrote.
Firefighters found the girls, 10-year-old Kendra Suing and 8-year-old Alysha Suing, stabbed and strangled in their bedrooms on Jan. 6. Authorities had been dispatched to the house at 1420 Nebraska St. for a fire in the basement.
Harris pleaded not guilty and has been incarcerated since his arrest. He currently is being held at the Woodbury County Jail in lieu of a $1 million bond.
Shortly after the girls’ deaths, police said Harris told them they had died during a spell that “had gone bad.”
According to the motion filed by prosecutors, one of the last spells in Harris’ spellbook was a from a chapter in “The Satanic Bible,” the Invocation Employed Toward the Conjuration of Destruction. In that two-page chapter, the invocation mentions slashing the victim and “rend that gaggling tongue and close his (her) throat, Oh Kali!”
Prosecutors say the girls’ injuries were consistent with writings contained in that chapter. They also say Harris told police he was possessed by Kali at the time of the killings.
Kali, the Hindu goddess of time and change, is often associated in popular culture with death and destruction. Images of the goddess often feature a garland of human heads.
Although “The Satanic Bible” has a chapter called One the Choice of Human Sacrifice, the book specifically prohibits killing children. Human sacrifices are to be made in the indirect sense, it says, through a curse or hex that “leads to the physical, mental or emotional destruction of the ‘sacrifice’ in ways and means not attributable to the magician.”
Those worthy of being sacrificed, the book says, are those who have unjustly wronged, hurt or made trouble for the satanist: “In short, a person asking to be cursed by their very actions.”
In addition to not being relevant to proving the prosecutors’ case against Harris, his defense attorneys wrote that not only would using words like Satanism and the other religious names unfairly influence the jury, but it could affect its view of relevant evidence.
Defense attorneys also wrote that they want to ban use of satanic words or references, because they believe prosecutors also plan to use that evidence to suggest Harris was affiliated with the Church of Satan and is an evil person for that reason.
The trial … is now scheduled for Oct. 14.