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Jury deliberations to continue in trial of former sect member

The Associated Press, USA
Feb. 3, 2004
www.heraldtribune.com

ReligionNewsBlog.com • Tuesday February 3, 2004

When Karen Robidoux held her starving child in arms, was she a psychologically tortured mother powerless to disobey her controlling husband, or a willing participant in her own son’s murder?

A jury in Taunton Superior Court was to continue pondering that question Tuesday, after hearing closing arguments in the trial of Robidoux, who is charged with second degree murder for the death of her son Samuel.

The Body

In early press reports, The Body was referred to generically as the “Attleboro cult” or “Attleboro sect.”

The group’s doctrines and practices have been heavily influenced by the teachings of Carol Balizet’s Home in Zion Ministries

The Body is a cult, both sociologicall and theologically. Theologically it a cult of Christianity

The jury was scheduled to reconvene at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

In closing arguments Monday, prosecutor Walter Shea said the real victim was Samuel Robidoux, who died in 1999 just days shy of his first birthday. Prosecutors say the boy was starved for 51 days because of a “vision” from another sect member jealous of Robidoux.

Shea said Robidoux knowingly participated in the starvation death of baby Samuel, whose body was found in a shallow grave in Maine’s Baxter State Park.

“Karen Robidoux made a choice,” Shea said. “She chose her husband and her faith over the life of her child.”

Robidoux’s lawyer, Joseph Krowski, said she was brainwashed by her husband, Jacques, and other members of a tiny, Attleboro-based religious sect called “The Body,” which rejects modern medicine.

Robidoux “suffered a psychological battery of unparalleled proportions,” Krowski told the jury. “This isn’t about religion. It’s about what some evil, clever people can do.”

After nearly two weeks of prosecution testimony, Krowski called just two witnesses to the stand – both forensic psychologists who examined Robidoux at a state hospital in Taunton. Robidoux herself never testified.

Jacques Robidoux was convicted of first-degree murder in 2002 and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

If convicted, his wife faces life in prison, but could be eligible for parole after 15 years.

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