Marcus A. Cobbs, 22, had agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge of accessory after the fact. But his attorney abruptly withdrew the plea after a dispute with prosecutors over the conditions of his release.
Cobbs will now face trial in January along with three other members of the now-defunct cult known as 1 Mind Ministries. All four face murder and child abuse charges in the January 2007 death of 1-year-old Javon Thompson and could face life in prison if convicted.
Had Cobbs pleaded guilty, he would not have admitted any role in starving the child. But he did help the cult members cover up Javon’s death, according to a statement of facts read in court to support his guilty plea.
Javon’s mother, Ria Ramkissoon, was part of the cult and pleaded guilty to child abuse resulting in death. She is expected to testify against the other members and remains jailed. At the time of her plea in March, she held out hope that Javon would be resurrected, and in an extraordinary arrangement, prosecutors agreed to withdraw her plea if that occurs.