Germantown exorcism murder suspects to go to trial this summer

In an update to the horrific story of two woman who killed two children and left two more injured after stabbing them in a so-called “exorcism”, there is word that they will go to trial this summer and have entered pleas.

Insanity defenses likely in Germantown exorcism murders – WTOP.com.

A Montgomery County Circuit judge Friday set a trial date of July 28 for Zakieya Avery, the mother who allegedly killed her two children.

She is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder.

Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said Avery will likely enter a plea of insanity in the near future.

Monifa Sanford, a second woman charged with same offenses, entered a plea of not criminally responsible. Though she may not have participated in the stabbing. Sanford will also undergo mental evaluation with a trial scheduled for Aug. 25.

See also: Woman accused in exorcism killings claims insanity – The Washington Post.

An attorney for one of two Montgomery County women accused of fatally stabbing two children in a bloody exorcism said in court Friday that he would pursue an insanity defense, known in Maryland as “not criminally responsible.”

The law reads: “A defendant is not criminally responsible for criminal conduct if, at the time of that conduct, the defendant, because of a mental disorder or mental retardation, lacks substantial capacity to: 1) appreciate the criminality of that conduct, or 2) conform that conduct to the requirements of law.”

If the trial determines that the women were guilty of the crime, then it would need to be determined if they were criminally responsible. But what would happen if they are deemed “not criminally responsible” because of a mental condition is not discussed in these pieces.

A previous report by the Washington Post regarding the hearings for the women noted

The hearings for each woman underscored how the case appears to be a mixture of the belief in demonic possession but there was some level of mental illness involved since Avery had been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility in the past. Sanford told officials she twice tried to commit suicide.

Nothing so far suggested that either woman hinted they would commit such violent acts. Relatives were shocked.

Once again, we have the intersection of psychological problems with religious issues, a tragedy and no clear answers on how to stop similiar tragedies from occurring.

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  1 comment for “Germantown exorcism murder suspects to go to trial this summer

  1. Angela
    April 6, 2014 at 7:43 AM

    ‘not criminally responsible’ will likely mean getting committed to a psychiatric facility. Its left open-ended in most sentences by stating ‘until such a time as the defendant is no longer a threat to themselves or others.’ The sad thing is, one of them already was committed and obviously…they were still a danger.

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