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NEWSMAKINGNEWS.COMSatanism and Ritual Abuse Archive
By Diana Napolis, M.A. aka Karen Jones 2000

The following cases describe legal proceedings held in Juvenile, Family, Civil and Criminal Courts around the world where there have been allegations of Satanism or the use of ritual to abuse others.
Any religion or organization can be used as a front to hide ritual abuse activity, including Christianity, Buddhism, Shamanism, Hinduism, Masonry, Mormonism, Pagan and Satanic religions; however, not all Satanists commit crimes and not all occultism is Satanism. It is imperative that investigators and professionals familiarize themselves with cross-cultural belief systems so as not to target any particular group.
This archive was compiled by Diana Napolis, M.A.. If there are any corrections or updates that need to be made, please contact
the author at: 6977 Navajo Rd. PMB 114, San Diego, California 92119-1503.

"Warning: Some of the following cases depict graphic, violent activity."

September 2000, Murfreesboro, Tennessee; Alonzo South, 31, pleaded guilty to three counts of aggravated sexual battery. He was sentenced to 24 years in prison.

Overview: South admitted that on at least three occasions over the last two years he participated in satanic rituals in which a nude girl under the age of 10 was sexually touched. Court records say the child, who was the daughter of a woman involved in the satanic group, was raped in a home, the nearby woods, a shed, a pickup truck and a car. See, "Man gets 24 years for satanic-ritual rape of 10-year-old girl," The Tennessean, Sept. 30, 2000

April 2000, Nashville, Tennessee; Motion withdrawn to hold State in contempt of court.

Overview: News articles report that a Federal judge was asked to hold the State in contempt of court in February 2000 for its continued failure to provide court-ordered and doctor-prescribed mental health services to a severely traumatized 17-year-old victim of rape and occult ritual abuse. A State advocacy group, Tennessee Justice Center, filed a class action lawsuit against the state for failure to properly administer the appeals procedure for the health care plan enrollees of TennCare, (Tennessee Behavioral Health). The 17 yr. old victim was just one of the people named in the settlement but she was left without proper care until this motion was filed. In April, the state agreed to properly attend to her care. See, "Tenn. Could be in Contempt if Mental Care for Teen Inadequate", The Commercial Appeal, February 24, 2000; and "Sarah C. to get badly needed care", Knoxville News-Sentinel Co., April 18, 2000

April 2000 Warsaw, Poland; Tomasz Suszyna and Robert Krakowian pleaded guilty to murder

Overview: A 19-year-old woman and a 17-year-old boy were killed during a ritual Satanic mass in southern Poland, police said after finding the cut up and burned bodies. The two victims were members of a sect that staged the black mass in a disused bunker on the outskirts of the town of Ruda Slaska, but they did not know they were to die. Another teenage cult member who survived was taken to the hospital with multiple knife wounds. See, "Teenage cult members killed in Satanic mass," Agence France Presse, March 4, 1999 and "Polish Satanists jailed for ritual double murder", Agence France Presse, April 1, 2000.


Shawn Ellis, Dependent Minor Child, (Franklin County Children Services, Complainant-Appellee, Carla Richardson, Respondent-Appellant). No. 99AP-725, No. 99AP-726; Permanent court commitment of children upheld.

Overview: The mother and father did not comply with the reunification plans for their children and the court stated satanic occult practices were allegedly commonplace: "After being in counseling for over three years, appellant continued to deny what happened to her children and claimed an inability to remember the abuse. There was even testimony that appellant could not recall taking blood and hair from the children as part of satanic rituals."

October 1999, South Africa; Maeoriko Manyike sentenced to life in prison for ritual murder and mutilation.

Overview: The perpetrator mutilated a 15-yr-old boy and tried to sell his genitals which he had cut off. According to a news report: "Ritual or 'muti' murders are common in South Africa where people are prepared to pay well for portions made of human parts which they believe will bring good health or good fortune." See, "Mozambican jailed for life in S. Africa for ritual murder," Agence France Presse, Oct. 21, 1999

Sept. 14, 1999, Kitchener, Ontario; Kenneth James McMurray pleaded guilty to five counts of sexual assault.

Overview: News article reports that McMurray held himself out as a leader of a group based on the Wiccan religion. He preyed on abused teenagers and required them to engage in a series of homosexual acts which he called Mandatory Requirements which they would be tested on. He told them that they would become better people spiritually if they participated in these acts. Some members were afraid of McMurray because they thought he had special powers. See, "Guelph man admits sex assaults, guilty plea ends preliminary hearing for head of Erin cult," Kitchener Waterloo Record, Sept. 14, 1999.

August 1999; STATE OF OHIO, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE V. KENNETH J. SMITH DEFENDANT-APPELLANT; CASE NO. 17-99-1; Status as sexual predator upheld.

Overview: Man pled guilty several years prior to sexual imposition against a child; he appealed the designation as a sexual predator. Documents state: "The trial court also noted that the pre-sentence investigation report indicated alcohol was used, that defendant had threatened the victim, and that satanic ceremonies had been used."

August 11 1999, Helsinki, Finland; Jarno Sebastian Elg, Terhi Johanna Tervashonka, Mika Kristian Riska sentenced for ritual murder

Overview: A court sentenced three alleged Satanists, including a 17-year-old girl, to prison terms for killing a man and ingesting some of the body parts. Jarno Sebastian Elg, 24, was given a life sentence for killing a 23-year-old man in November and instigating others to participate in a ritual that included torturing the victim and listening to heavy-metal music. The Hyvinkaa District Court in southern Finland sentenced Terhi Johanna Tervashonka, 17, to two years and six months in prison and Mika Kristian Riska, 21, to two years and eight months in the case. The victim, who was not named, suffered prolonged torture and eventually was strangled to death, the court said. It also said the three people convicted "were strongly influenced by Satanism." The court declared most of the details of the case secret. See, "Alleged Satanists sentenced for murder, cannibalism," Associated Press, August 11, 1999

August 3, 1999, KIEV; Dmitry Dyomin was sentenced to death for murder; his accomplices, Valentin Chelyshev and Alexei Andreyev sentenced to 13 and 8 yrs. in jail.

Overview: The supreme court sentenced to death a man convicted of killing a 15-year-old girl whose tongue he then boiled and ate. He belonged to a satanic cult and with the help of two accomplices had severed the girl's head with a kitchen knife. Dyomin later lacquered the skull and kept it in his room. Skulls, books on black magic and upside-down crucifixes were found during a search of Dyomin's house. See AAP NEWSFEED, August 4, 1999

May 1999, FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida; Darrel Wayne Harris, held for attempted 1st degree murder

Overview: Pending Case - A 17-year-old has been charged as an adult and was scheduled to be arraigned on an attempted first-degree murder charge in a stabbing attack that stemmed from a satanic ritual, police said. Harris allegedly stabbed Robert Menendez four to six times in the throat and back with a carving knife after a ritual in which they cut their hands to let their blood mingle and chanted lines from a satanic book together. As they were chanting on April 21, they drew a pentagram in the dirt and Harris told Menendez to look down at the symbol. As Menendez looked down, Harris attacked him with the knife." Somewhere along the line the culprit just started to hack him with the knife," said Fort Lauderdale Detective Arturo Carbo. "The victim told us that the stabbing was not part of the ritual and he firmly believed he was going to die. Harris and Menendez were part of a network of 30 to 40 local young people who are involved in satanic activities," Carbo said. Menendez told police he and Harris, who have known each other for at least 18 months, hung out at local public libraries to use computers to access satanic Web sites and send e-mail to each other. See, "Teen charged as adult in stabbing that took place during satanic ritual," Associated Press, May 28, 1999.

February 1999, United States District Court For the District of Nebraska; Paul A. Bonacci vs. Lawrence E. King; 4:CV91-3037; $1 million default judgment awarded.

Overview: "Two counts are alleged against the defendant King in the complaint. Count V alleges a conspiracy with public officers to deprive the plaintiff of his civil rights, designed to continue to subject the plaintiff to emotional abuse and to prevent him from informing authorities of criminal conduct. Count VIII charges battery, false imprisonment, infliction of emotional distress, negligence and conspiracy to deprive the plaintiff of civil rights. Between December 1980 and 1988, the complaint alleges, the defendant King continually subjected the plaintiff to repeated sexual assaults, false imprisonments, infliction of extreme emotional distress, organized and directed satanic rituals, forced the plaintiff to 'scavenge' for children to be a part of the defendant King's sexual abuse and pornography ring, forced the plaintiff to engage in numerous masochistic orgies with other minor children. The defendant King's default has made those allegations true against him. The issue now is the relief to be granted monetarily. The now uncontradicted evidence is that the plaintiff has suffered much. He has suffered burns, broken fingers, beating of the head and face and other indignities by the wrongful actions of the defendant King. In addition to the misery of going through the experiences just related over a period of eight years, the plaintiff has suffered the lingering results to the present time. He is a victim of multiple personality disorder, involving as many as fourteen distinct personalities aside from his primary personality. He has given up a desired military career and received threats on his life. He suffers from sleeplessness, has bad dreams, has difficulty in holding a job, is fearful that others are following him, fears getting killed, has depressing flashbacks, and is verbally violent on occasion, all in connection with the multiple personality disorder and caused by the wrongful activities of the defendant King."

April 1998, South Africa; Naledzani Mabuda and his wife Helen Madidida confessed to killing their 23-month-old son.

Overview: The father, a traditional healer and spiritual medium, confessed to ritually killing his son because his ancestors had threatened to destroy him if he did not. Police found the boy's head, legs, hands and genitals buried under various parts of the floor in the couple's house. Later searches revealed the toddler's intestines, liver and other internal organs from a series of ritual "graves" on the nearby mountainside. The couple were refused bail after another local traditional leader banned them from the village. He testified that the couple had committed a crime of the "greatest evil" and that the townspeople were terrified. The case was remanded to trial for May 4 when a series of sangomas were asked to testify about ritual human sacrifices as part of traditional African beliefs. See, "A Sangoma couple in court for sacrificing child to ancestors, Africa News Service, April 15, 1998.

Also, in January 1998 several of South Africa's witch-doctors, or sangomas, claimed that ritual murders and killings related to the medicinal quest for body parts had decreased by more than 90 percent. The news article reports that police estimate that several hundred people, many of them children, are killed in South Africa each year for their body parts. Female genitals, breasts and placentas are used for infertility and good luck, while hands burned to ashes and mixed into a paste are seen as a cure for strokes, and hearts for heart disease. Blood is given to impart vitality and brains for political power and business success. However "true sangomas eschew the use of body parts, treating physical and mental ailments using herbal medicines." See, "Witch-doctors not making a killing any more: South African healers say ritual murders no longer in vogue." The Ottawa Citizen, January 2, 1998

STATE OF OREGON, Respondent, v. MICHAEL JAMES HAYWARD; Appellant. 327 Ore. 397; 963 P.2d 667; 1998 Ore. LEXIS 593.

Three counts of aggravated murder, one count of intentional murder, two counts of felony murder, two counts of attempted aggravated murder, one count of first-degree assault, one count of first-degree kidnapping, one count of first-degree robbery, and one count of first-degree burglary and death sentence affirmed.

Overview: Four people, three of whom considered themselves to be Satanists and members of a "Death-Metal" band, listened to their Death-Metal music which included lyrics to "The Pick-Axe Murders," An Experiment in Homicide," "Hammer smashed face," Meat Hook Sodomy," "Gutted," and "Living Dissection." They planned their crime and went to a Dari Mart store, killed a female clerk and brutally beat another one. The evidence of "Death-metal" music and Satanism was admitted into court testimony and was upheld because it partially explain the motive for the crime and the motive for the degree of brutality used.

October 1997, Equatorial Guinea; An unnamed individual was condemned to death after removing the eyes, tongue, ears and genitals of his 10-year-old female victim.

Overview: Malabo radio reported that 17 ritual murders were committed in Equatorial Guinea in August and September of 1997, according to official figures. See, "Ritual murderer of girl, 10, sentenced to death", Agence France Presse, October 3, 1997.

Another news report cites a Spanish journalist and ethnographer, Jose Manuel Novoa, an expert on the country who has conducted investigations in Equatorial Guinea since 1979 and has written two books about cannibalism in the region. Novoa claims that anthropophagy (eating human flesh) is widespread in the country. He stated, "Eating human flesh was a tradition of warriors pertaining to the ethnic group of the Fang, which lives in Equatorial Guinea, Nigeria, Gabon and Cameroon they conquered new territories, Fang warriors ate parts of their victims to absorb desirable qualities such as youth and strength... human organs are eaten by members of secret brotherhoods which practice sorcery in forests at night. New members are initiated in ceremonies which invoke spirits...bodies are obtained through murder and robbing them from cemeteries ...the secret groups are known as 'evu societies', because many Guineans believe the human body to contain an organ known as the 'evu.'"... "The human brain is known to be highly toxic, for which reason the cannibals seek to immunize themselves by ingesting potent vegetal poisons in small doses... nevertheless, the cannibalism is believed to have led to a disease known as the kuru." See, "Cannibalism still common in Equatorial Guinea, Spanish expert claims", Deutsche Presse-Agentur, April 5, 1998.

In April of 1988, President Omar Bongo met with leaders of the Catholic, Protestant and Moslem communities to discuss possible action against imported beliefs and practice. This action was taken after an admission by a witchdoctor, purporting to belong to a sect based in neighboring Equitorial Guinea, that he had eaten six humans, including two of his own children, over the past decade. The witchdoctor was a railway worker and his followers had killed another victim, a teacher who was seeking help to solve family problems. See, "Bongo Denounces Sects in Wake of Gruesome Cannibalism Tale." Reuters (Libreville) April 29, 1988.

November 1998, Pike County, Ohio; Michael Paul Dillard, 20, was convicted of felony child endangerment for burning a boy during a satanic ritual.

Overview: Dillard used candle wax to burn crosses on the chest, genitals, arms and back of the 14-yr.old. Dillard confessed to torturing the boy, his 13 yr. old brother and a 12 yr. old friend. An accomplice held their legs while Dillard poured wax on them. "It burned," the younger boy testified. "I tried to get loose." One of the men told one of the boys to holler out Satan's name, but he refused to do it, the younger boy testified. See, "Man guilty of burning teens in satanic ritual," Columbus Dispatch, and "A Pike County man faces up to five years in prison for torturing a 14-yr-old boy", Associated Press, August 19, 1998.

February 1998, SEAN RICHARD SELLERS v. RONALD WARD UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS TENTH CIRCUIT No. 97-6062; 728 P.2d 515; 809 P.2d 676; 889 P. 2d 895; Denial of new trial affirmed.

Overview: In 1985 - 1986, at the age of 16, Sean Sellers killed three people, including his parents. He was tried as an adult and given the death sentence. Evidence of his satanic belief system was admitted by the defense at trial. Sellers appealed in recent years due to new evidence that he suffered from multiple personality disorder or (DID). Extensive medical documentation was submitted to the court indicating that an "alter" committed the offenses. The appeal was denied although the court was clearly disturbed by the ramifications of Sean Seller's mental disorder.

Note: Sean was executed on Feb. 4, 1999 despite appeals by Amnesty International contesting the legal wisdom of executing a man for crimes he committed at age 16 and who suffered from a psychological disorder like MPD/DID.

April 28, 1998, Lubuk Pakam, Indonesia; Achmad Suradji, 47, sentenced to death for murdering 42 women.

Overview: An Indonesian sorcerer was sentenced to death Monday for murdering 42 women as part of a bizarre attempt to boost his magical powers. The case first came to light in April last year when police, following up a missing person's report, found a body buried in a sugar cane field near Suradji's house. When they went to question the sorcerer, they found women's shoes and handbags. Over the next few weeks, a further 41 bodies were unearthed close to his village. According to the police, Suradji said that he had a dream in 1986 in which the ghost of his father had told him to kill a total of 70 women and then drink their saliva in order to enhance his mystical powers. See, "Sorcerer to die for 42 murders", The Daily Telegraph, April 28, 1998 and "Witch Work; How an Indonesian lured 42 women to their death", Asiaweek, June 13, 1997

May 1997, J. P. v. CLARENCE CARTER, COMMISSIONER OF THE VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES; Record No. 1168-96-4 COURT OF APPEALS OF VIRGINIA 24 Va. App. 707; 485 S.E.2d 162; 1997 Va.App. LEXIS 310, Decided. True Finding of child molestation affirmed.

Overview: A 13 yr. old female minor was found to have molested two children in the context of satanic ritual ceremony while she was babysitting them. The kids reported to their parents and investigators that: "...[appellant] had undressed and fondled [one child] on these two different occasions, performed oral sodomy, had [him] touch her breast and sat on top of [him] and quote "hurt his penis." [Appellant] allegedly had [the other child] draw a pentagram and circle and told [him] this is where to love Satan while she fondled his penis. . . [The children's mother] said the boys reported that [appellant] talked of Satan's power and that she would kill them and their parents if they told anyone what happened. This minor's name was submitted to the central registry as a founded sexual abuser.

July 1997, Eddie Lee Sexton v. State of Florida, No. 86,132

Trial court imposed the death penalty for murder. Remanded back to Court because testimony needlessly inflamed the jury. The criminal trial was continued until August 1998. After the second trial, Eddie Lee Sexton was found guilty and sentenced to death again on Nov. 18, 1998.

Overview: Sexton was convicted and sentenced to death for the participation in the murder of his son-in-law. The court notes Sexton moved to Florida in 1993 with his family and the victim to avoid arrest and prevent authorities in Ohio from removing his children from the home. His infant grandchild, who was the son of the victim and his daughter, died under suspicious circumstances. Sexton objected to the testimony of 5 of his daughters, as cited in the appellate opinion, "that he beat them, conducted 'marriage' ceremonies with his daughters, had regular sex with them and fathered several of their children, encouraged his children to have sex with each other, made his sons compare their penis sizes and ridiculed them, practiced Satanism and engaged in other bizarre conduct, threatened his children if they discussed family matters with others, trained his children how to kill FBI agents, engaged in a standoff with police in Ohio shortly before coming to Florida, fled to Florida to prevent his children from being taken into custody, and directed the killing of his infant grandchild."

The States proposed motive for the killing was that Sexton's son-in-law knew Sexton was the father of his own "grandchildren." The prosecution wanted prior bad acts admitted to show the control this man had over his children. The appeals court thought this testimony needlessly inflamed the jury and so ordered a new trial. During the second trial, a son, Willie Sexton, said his father convinced him he had Satanic powers and sexually abused him. He also stated that he was tied up to his bed at night when he was a child, and the father gave coins to the other children to call home if anyone spoke about the abuse. See, "Court revisits murder case, son's fears", St. Petersburg
Times, September 2, 1998

March 1998, STATE OF OHIO, Plaintiff-Appellee -vs.- ESTELLA SEXTON, Defendant-Appellant CASE NOS: 1996CA00306, 1996CA00367 COURT OF APPEALS OF OHIO, FIFTH APPELLATE DISTRICT, STARK COUNTY 1998 Ohio App. LEXIS 1302, Case No. 1995CR00421.

Convictions for Complicity to Rape, Felonious Sexual Penetration, Gross Sexual Imposition, Complicity to Gross Sexual Imposition, and child endangerment. Affirmed.

Overview: This appeal involves the wife of the man described in the above case. In April 1992 M. one of Mrs. Sexton's daughters, alleged that their father was molesting the three oldest daughters. There were 12 children in the family. DHS took six of the children into custody, but three of the children were returned to the mother under an agreement that she would keep the children away from the father. "In December of 1992, Mrs. Sexton fled Ohio with the three children, and reunited with Eddie at a hotel in Kentucky. On January 14, 1994, appellant and Eddie were arrested in Hillsboro County, Florida. The three children were returned to the custody of DHS. While living in Jackson Township, and in a camper in Hillsboro County, Florida, appellant and her husband perpetrated acts of sexual, physical, and mental abuse against all of the children. While living in Jackson Township, K. L. and M. were forced to participate in a wedding ceremony with their father. During the ceremony, Eddie engaged in a French kiss with the girls. Appellant was present, and took pictures of the ceremony."... "In the camper in Florida, appellant and Eddie gave Kim and Chris little red pills and Nyquil to ingest every evening, despite the fact that neither had a cold." The mother and father inflicted "shaving rituals" on the girls. "On one occasion, K. did not ingest the medicine, and saw appellant fondling C's. penis while he was asleep."..."While living in Jackson Township, L. and M. were forced to experience a similar shaving ritual. Lana was taken to the master bedroom for the purpose of punishment. Once inside the room, appellant held L. down, while Eddie shaved her entire body with a razor. While shaving her, Eddie cut her leg, put the blood on her finger, and made her sign a paper, saying that she was selling her soul to the devil."... "C. received beatings from both appellant and Eddie. Eddie would beat C. once or twice a week, while appellant guarded the door. The beatings would often leave bruises. Appellant and Eddie also punished C. by having him stand against the wall for five to six hours, holding a penny against the wall with his nose. During this punishment, C. was not permitted to go to the bathroom. At age twelve, C. was forced to participate in weekend parties involving the family members in which he was given beer to drink."

In a previous appellate opinion describing Mrs. Sexton's case, Ohio vs. Estella Sexton one of the children at that time stated that family members were involved in satanic rituals, invoking spirits, and "baby thingies and things like that."

November 1997, India; Dharam Vir arrested for the ritual murder of his son.

Overview: A father chopped off his son's head and offered it to the Hindu goddess of destruction, Kali, in a belief that a human sacrifice would earn him divine favors. He ordered his son to lie on the ground and then beheaded him. The police said he murdered his son because he was driven by his own religious beliefs. See, "Man beheads son in Ritual Murder in India", Agence France Presse, November 14, 1997


Conviction for first degree murder and conspiracy to commit first degree murder affirmed. Death penalty affirmed.

Overview: Pike killed another female she felt rivalry with and carved a pentagram into her chest. The court found that this murder involved torture, and medical experts thought the injuries were inflicted when the victim was still alive. A group of "others" were named who helped her but Pike didn't give information about them. The pentagram she was wearing was admitted as evidence. "A witness stated that as the Defendant described hitting Slemmer in the head with a piece of asphalt and carving a pentagram in her chest, she danced around in a circle, smiling and singing." The psychiatrist involved thought there were satanic elements to the crime but that Pike was just a "dabbler" in Satanism.

A few years later..."A Knox County judge imposed consecutive prison terms Thursday for a young Memphis man who took part in the torture slaying of a Knoxville Job Corps student. Criminal Court Judge Mary Beth Leibowitz said public safety concerns dictate that Tadaryl D. Shipp be imprisoned as long as the law allows. Shipp, 21, had no regard for human life when he helped murder Colleen A. Slemmer, 19, the night of Jan. 12, 1995, the judge said. He treated her with "gross cruelty" while at least partly satisfying an interest in Satanism, Leibowitz said." See, "Orange County woman to die for Tenn. killing," THE_NEWS_&_OBSERVER " and "Judge orders Shipp to serve life in slaying, then another 25-year term " Knoxville News-Sentinel, March 12, 1999

April 1, 1996 ADOPTION OF QUENTIN & others. SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT OF MASSACHUSETTS; 424 Mass. 882; 678 N.E.2d 1325; 1997 Mass. LEXIS 104 DISPOSITION: Order granting petition to dispense with consent to adoption of three children affirmed.

Overview: Department of Social Services planned to adopt out the parent's children, the parent's appealed and the court briefly describes Social Services case for neglect, sexual molestation and statements of the children. While describing the past history of the father, the court writes: "In 1983, the father joined a religious organization called Orlo Templi Orientis and studied the so-called 'Satanic Bible.' In January, 1984, he was convicted of grave robbing, and sentenced to two months in jail. After release, he returned to his transient life-style, alternating between Los Angeles and San Francisco." "The eldest child, E. was diagnosed as suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder. During an interview with Dr. O'Connell, she stated that "her 'Daddy's a witch;' that 'bad witches took my picture with no clothes on;' that '[Paul, a friend of the father] calls me his girlfriend;' that [Paul] took pictures of her with no clothes on; that [Paul] said not to tell; that she and her mother were tied up together with no clothes on while her father had no clothes on;
and that the witches 'shared weenies' and tried to touch her with their weenies but that she ran away."

July 1996, In Interest of P.J.M, 926 S.W.2d 223, Missouri Court of Appeals, Termination of Parental Rights Affirmed.

Overview: This self-described satanic family had been in and out of social services for many years. Parental Rights were terminated as to three of the children. There was constant and severe domestic violence; the father continually abused the mother, including using a cattle prod to electrically shock her, shot her with a gun, cut her with a razor blade and violated her with a baseball bat. The mother then claimed she made up the story, although physical evidence was discovered, she had a stab wound in her side and she was bleeding internally. Both parents had been arrested for the rape of a teenager, but the witness wouldn't testify so the charges were dropped. Both parents had tried to commit suicide and were involved in drug usage. The mother admitted to sacrificing animals in front of her children and giving them drugs to forget the ceremonies. The children also stated that this occurred.

December 1996, Damien Wayne Echols and Charles Jason Baldwin v. State of Arkansas, 936 S.W.2d 509, Convictions and sentencing for murder affirmed.

Overview: Echols and Baldwin were jointly tried and convicted for killing three 8 yr. old boys. Their accomplice, Jessie Misskelley, confessed and implicated both Echols and Baldwin in the murders. Misskelley was tried separately. In an appellate opinion dated July 17, 1995 (902 S.W.2d 781) Echols had previously appealed his case but filed a motion specifically waiving all points concerning his death sentence. The appellate court ordered the case back to the lower court to address Echols competency to waive an appeal of the death penalty. Echols finally decided to appeal his death sentence but the sentence was upheld. One jury member received a death threat, another had received a threatening phone call during the trial. In the courts overview of the sufficiency of the evidence arguments, there were detailed descriptions of the three victims bodies, including evidence of forced sex, they'd been beaten and stabbed, and there were injuries to the genital area evidencing forced oral sex. There was evidence of castration regarding child victim, Christopher Byers. "The skin of the penis had been removed, and the scrotal sac and testes were missing."

When asked by police how he thought the boys had been killed, Echols gave them statements not yet publicly known. On the witness stand, Echols testified that he'd read these facts from the newspaper. When the newspapers were shown to him, Echols admitted the information he was referring to was not in them and he didn't get the information in question from the newspaper after all. Two witnesses testified they overheard Echols admit he killed the three boys and that he was going to kill two more. The state thought the killings had been performed in a satanic ritual and an expert witness on the occult gave that opinion also. Echols admitted to being involved in the occult, items in his home included journals that had references to "morbid images, spells, and dead children." His parents had concerns about his involvement in "devil worship". Medical records contained statements by Echols about his belief system: "People are in two classes, sheeps and wolves, and the wolves eat the sheep." He thought he obtained power from drinking the blood of others, especially from his sexual partners. In regards to whether the field of Satanism has scientific validity, the court notes: "Echols next contends that Dr. Griffis should not have been allowed to testify that the murders had the 'trappings of occultism' because there was no testimony that the field of Satanism or occultism is generally accepted in the scientific community. The argument is without merit, as the trial court did not allow the evidence to prove that Satanism or occultism is generally accepted in the scientific community. Rather, the trial court admitted the evidence as proof of the motive for committing the murders." In regards to Jason Baldwin, a witness testified that Baldwin spoke of the murders. "He told me he dismembered the kids, or I don't know exactly how many kids. He just said he dismembered them. He sucked the blood from the penis and scrotum and put the balls in his mouth."
April 1996, Jessie Lloyd Misskelley, Jr. v. State of Arkansas, 915 S.W.2d 702, Convictions for first and second degree murder affirmed.

Overview: Companion case to the above. Three 8 yr.old boys were brutally murdered, raped, and mutilated in Arkansas by Misskelley and two other accomplices-- Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin. The case against Misskelley was primarily based on his confession and supporting circumstantial evidence. "Misskelley stated he had been involved in a cult for three months, they met in the woods, they engaged in orgies and,as an initiation rite, the killing and eating of dogs. At one cult meeting, he saw a picture that Echols had taken of the three boys. Another witness testified that she had attended a satanic cult meeting with Echols and Misskelley. A doctor offered testimony that the type of cuts in one of the victims genital area required the use of 'skill and precision.'"

October 1996, Ohio; Nathan Brooks found guilty of the mutilation slaying of his parents and sentenced to two consecutive life terms.

Overview: The 18 yr. old perpetrator decapitated his father and his mother was hacked to death. Brooks told the officers he used the head in a Black mass ritual that he believed would increase his satanic powers. He said he had also planned to kill a younger brother, but the youngster was visiting a friend. See, "Satanic ritual killer sentenced to life," United Press International, October 24, 1996.

February 1996, Suzanne Hughes v. Department of Social Services Arlington County, Court of Appeals of Virginia, Termination of Parental Rights Affirmed. Record No. 2345-94-4.

Overview: A baby was removed from the custody of the mother after evidence of abuse. The mother was eventually diagnosed with Multiple Personality Disorder. The child was returned to the mother, but after further incidents of abuse and neglect she was taken into custody again. The mother's counselor testified that the mother stated she was involved with a satanic cult that killed adults and babies, and they had threatened her. She stated she was involved with them since she was 7 yrs. old. She reported members of the cult abducting and raping her. Under cross-examination, the mother was asked about the maternal grandparents failure in reporting her own abuse, and the court was concerned that she was living at the maternal grandfather's home. The trial judge also expressed concern over the continued existence of the satanic cult, appellant's inability to help the police prosecute a member of this cult, appellant's continued residence in the same family home where she had been verbally and physically abused as a small child, and lack of family support that was missing when appellant was an abused child. The appellate court found that the evidence of appellants participation in the cult described was relevant to the proceedings.

December 1995, Jimmie Lee Penick v. State of Indiana, 659 N.E.2d 484, Conviction for murder and enhanced sentence affirmed

Overview: Four practitioners of Satanism conspired and planned to murder a prospective member of their "Satanic Church." They were concerned that the victim, William Ault, knew about a prior murder. They took him to what he thought was an initiation..."Ault was asked to lay down on a door, which was being used as an altar. Keith Lawrence read an invocation to Satan...Goodwin and the Lawrences also made cuts on Ault's chest and abdomen in the form of an inverted cross, as well as other cuts...Penick's own words describe how the victims chest and abdomen were cut open, how Goodwin tried to cut out victim's heart before he died, and how the victim remained conscious throughout this and responded to questions from the defendant." Aggravators were that Penick dismembered the victims head and hands and Penick admitted he removed the head to give the skull to a friend. Penick's defense was that he acted under the influence of his strong beliefs in Satanism but that he had converted to Christianity while in prison.
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