(AP/courtesy Seeta Khadan-Newton)
BALTIMORE (CBS/AP) Javon Thompson was 16 months old when cult leader Queen Antoinette effectively ordered his execution when she forbade her followers from feeding him - because he didn't say Amen before meals, a Baltimore jury ruled Tuesday.
(AP/Baltimore Police Department)
Jurors deliberated for about three hours before convicting Queen Antoinette, AKA Toni Sloan, and her 1 Mind Ministries followers, daughter Trevia Williams and Marcus A. Cobbs, of first-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death. Cobbs was also convicted of accessory after the fact for helping to cover up Javon's murder.
Javon died in either December 2006 or January 2007. He was about 16 months old, and it's not clear whether he was ever capable of saying "Amen." Ramkissoon testified that he had said it before, but another household member said the boy most likely made a sound that resembled "Amen."
Javon's mother, Trinidad-born Ria Ramkissoon, who pleaded guilty in 2009 to child abuse resulting in death, testified that Antoinette said Javon had "a spirit of rebellion" inside him and that denying him food would cure him. She said she believed Antoinette's claim about the evil spirit.
Ramkissoon testified that after Javon died Antoinette ordered her to pray for his resurrection and "nurture him back to life". Ramkissoon said she stayed with the body for weeks, dancing for him and singing to him, even trying to give him water.
When those efforts failed Javon's body was stashed in a suitcase and taken with them when the group relocated to Philadelphia.
Ramkissoon's guilty plea made headlines because it included an extraordinary provision: If Javon comes back to life, the conviction will be thrown out. Prosecutors said only a "Jesus-like resurrection" would suffice.
Antoinette, Williams and Cobbs each face up to 60 years in prison when they are sentenced May 18.