An ongoing story out of Durham, North Carolina, is disturbing, tragic and virtually unbelievable. While the drama, which involves an alleged murderous cult leader, has been reported on for months, new developments have emerged. Peter Lucas Moses, who is said to be the leader of the Black Hebrews religious sect, has pleaded guilty to killing a 28-year-old woman and a 4-year-old boy. The motivation behind the latter murder is said to be the cult-leader’s belief that the young child was gay.
As a result of Moses’ crime, investigators are seeking the death penalty. The two victims, Antoinetta Yvonne McKoy and Jadon Higganbothan, were living with the man at the time the crime was committed. Their bodies were later found wrapped in trash bags and buried in Moses’ mother’s backyard.
The uncommon practices and beliefs associated with the group are said to be at the root of the crimes’ motivations. The Huffington Post has more about the so-called religious sect that Moses led:
The 27-year-old Moses is also allegedly the leader of radical religious sect, whose members comprised a number of women and children who called him “Lord.” Moses reportedly lived together with at least three of those women, who counted themselves as his “wives,” and nine children and in a one-bedroom Durham home. Moses is the biological father of all the children, except for Jadon.
The Associated Press identified Moses’ sect as the Black Hebrews, whose members believe they have descended directly from the ancient tribes of Israel. The Black Hebrews are also said to believe that a forthcoming “race war” will leave blacks dominant and supreme, according to court documents cited by the News-Observer.
Here’s more on the case:
The fringe religious sect allegedly saw homosexuality as an abomination, which is what purportedly led Moses to kill the boy. His suspicions that the 4-year-old child was a homosexual were apparently predicated upon the fact that the child’s father had him and his mother (the boy’s mother, Vania Sisk, was one of Moses’ three “wives”). The cult leader also apparently claimed to have seen the child hit the backside of another boy.
According to reports, Moses shot Jadon, while playing the Lord’s Prayer in Hebrew — a bizarre and disturbing twist to the story that showcases just how intensely the cult’s religious beliefs played a role. Last year, WRAL.com reported the horrific details surrounding the boy’s murder:
Sometime in October 2010, Smith told Moses that Jadon had hit another child’s bottom, and Moses became angry and started walking around the house with a gun that belonged to Sisk, prosecutors said.
“He starts screaming, ‘I told you to get rid of him!'” and told Sisk, “‘How am I going to do this?'” Cline recalled the witness’ account.
Moses ordered two of the women to set up computers and speakers in the garage, prosecutors said they were told by the witness. They said he started playing music with the Lord’s Prayer in Hebrew, took Jadon in the garage and shut the door, and the women then heard a gunshot.
And McKoy, who also had a relationship with the cult leader, was killed for allegedly attempting to flee the home and escape the relationship. Sisk, not Moses, is accused of shooting the woman after she and the other women allegedly beat her for trying to leave the home.
Complete details on the case can be found here.