Trial near in cult starvation death

Members of 1 Mind Ministries accused of denying child food and water as punishment for not saying ‘amen’

Queen Antoinette – aka Toni Sloan or Toni Ellsberry – sat at a defense table Tuesday and grimaced every time she heard a statement she didn’t like, particularly those containing the words “cult” or “commune.”

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Her actions irked Assistant Public Defender Maureen Rowland, representing one of Antoinette’s co-defendants in a bizarre homicide case that involves the alleged starvation death of a toddler.

Antoinette’s side comments during the motions hearing are “just one small thing that is going to come up over and over and over again,” Rowland argued before Baltimore Circuit Judge Timothy Doory as she sought a separate trial for her client.

Even though Doory noted a “great potential for a train wreck” during proceedings at which Antoinette intends to represent herself, he denied the lawyer’s request.

Prosecutors claim cult members – including Antoinette and her daughter, Trevia Williams, who is also representing herself – starved the 16-month-old boy at Antoinette’s order because he refused to say “amen” after meals.

Police say the cult members carried the boy’s body to Pennsylvania in a suitcase in the hope that he could be resurrected later.

Jury selection is to begin today and testimony on Monday.

As the alleged cult leader, [Antoinette] is facing a first-degree murder charge, while Cobbs and Williams are charged with second-degree murder. Prosecutors recently charged Cobbs as an accessory after the fact. All three face charges of child abuse resulting in death.

– Source / Full Story: Trial near in cult starvation death, Tricia Bishop, The Baltimore Sun, Feb. 17, 2010 — Summarized by Religion News Blog
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Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday February 17, 2010.
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