Death penalty sought for cult leader in murder of woman and 5-year-old boy

Prosecutors in Durham, N.C. will seek the death penalty against cult leader Pete Moses, Jr., who is accused of killing his ex-girlfriend and a child.

The Associated Press reports

District Attorney Tracey Cline said Friday 27-year-old Peter Lucas Moses shot 5-year-old Jadon Higganbothan because he thought the boy was gay.

Cline says Moses killed 28-year-old Antoinetta Yvonne McKoy because he feared she would tell police about the shooting and also because she wanted to leave their group.

According to NBC-17


Moses didn’t say anything during his court hearing Friday morning. However Durham County District Attorney Tracey Cline gave the judge a gruesome description of the shootings that took place last year at a home on Pear Tree Lane.

Cline said Moses lived at the home with a number of woman and eight children. All of the children were fathered by Moses except Jadon. Jadon’s mother, Vania Sisk, was one of the women who lived at the home and is charged with the murder of McKoy.

Cline said during the Spring of 2010 Moses got angry at Jadon for hitting another child on the bottom. Prosecutors believe Moses thought Jadon was a homosexual, like his biological father, and it was against Moses’ religious beliefs so he shot Jadon in the head.

Durham station WRAL reports that the women and children of Moses’ ‘religious group’ referred to him as “Lord” and feared him.

Prosecutors said the case [Jadon’s murder] came to police’s attention in February when a young woman escaped from a house at 2109 Pear Tree Lane house, where she had lived with McKoy, Jadon, eight other children and three women charged in connection with the two slayings – Jadon’s mother, Vania Rae Sisk, 25, Lavada Quinzetta Harris, 40, and Larhonda Renee Smith, 40.

The woman, whose identity wasn’t released, told police that two people had died at the house, Durham County District Attorney Tracey Cline said. Court records have revealed that Durham police had a confidential informant in the case.

The women counted themselves as Moses’ “wives or common-law wives,” Cline said. 

“The arrangement was the women would periodically occupy the master suite with” Moses, Cline said, adding that she wouldn’t go so far as to say the group was a cult.

The Herald-Sun reports that

In court on Friday, Cline offered descriptions of the secrets that she said the group, a religious sect called the Black Hebrews, kept for months before the bodies were discovered.

In an account that relied on information provided by a former member of the group, Cline said Moses shared a house at 2109 Pear Tree Lane with multiple women who called him “Lord” and bore eight of his children.

Moses stayed in the master suite of the house, Cline said, and there was a separate room for the women and another one for the children.

She claimed that McKoy nearly escaped before her murder but was dragged back into the home where she was beaten by two of her housemates, strangled by Moses and eventually shot by another woman who lived in the house.

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This post was last updated: Mar. 28, 2012