1 Mind Ministries: closing arguments expected in trial of reputed cult members

Defendants accused of starving toddler to death

Closing arguments are expected today in the Baltimore trial of three alleged cult members [See: 1 Mind MinistriesRNB] accused of starving a toddler to death because he didn’t pray properly.

The defendants, who are representing themselves, rested their cases within minutes Monday without calling any witnesses. They face decades in prison if convicted.

All are charged with child abuse resulting in death, which carries a maximum 30-year penalty, for depriving 16-month-old Javon Thompson of food and water. Prosecutors say the punishment began because the boy refused to say “amen.”

Defendant Toni Sloan, who goes by the name “Queen Antoinette,” 41, is also charged with first-degree murder, which is punishable by life in prison. She’s accused of ordering the starvation. Her daughter “Princess” Trevia Williams, 22, and their friend Marcus Cobbs, 23, are charged with second-degree murder, which has a maximum sentence of 30 years, because they allegedly did nothing to help the boy as he withered.

In cross-examination of the state’s witnesses, the defendants have suggested they lived a disciplined, religious life, but denied that they were a cult.

On Monday, the state called two witnesses before resting its case: a Baltimore police lab director who identified the child’s mummified remains and a medical examiner who testified that the boy was killed by “unspecified means,” likely suffocation or food and water deprivation.

– Source / Full Story: Closing arguments expected in trial of reputed cult members, Tricia Bishop, The Baltimore Sun, Mar. 2, 1010 — Summarized by Religion News Blog
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Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday March 2, 2010.
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