Durham families describe anguish in 'cult' murder sentencing - WRBL

Durham families describe anguish in 'cult' murder sentencing

Posted: Updated:
DURHAM, N.C. -

Two people charged in connection with killing a 4-year-old boy and 29-year-old woman, were sentenced in a Durham courtroom Thursday.

Vania Sisk and Larhonda Smith were sentenced in the so-called "cult murders."

Peter Moses, the alleged ringleader of the cult, known as the "Black Hebrews," was expected to be sentenced, but his case was delayed due to an attorney's scheduling conflict.

The three are the final people to be sentenced in the 2010 deaths of Jadon Higganbothan, 4, and Antionetta McKoy, 29.

Moses previously pled guilty in the deaths of Higganbothan and McKoy. He faces two life sentences without the possibility of parole.

Sisk pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, accessory after the fact, first-degree kidnapping and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder as part of a plea deal. Sisk received two consolidated sentences, each of up to nearly 19 years in prison. A plea deal reduced the amount of time she would have originally served for the crimes. She will received mental health treatment during prison and the judge said she could enroll in a work release program if eligible at some point.

Smith was given two consolidated sentences, each of nearly 15 years. When one ends, the other begins. The judge said Smith will get mental health treatment and work release when she qualifies.

"Black Hebrews" members said McKoy was killed when she tried to leave the group. In court, attorneys said Sisk pulled the trigger that killed McKoy. Moses shot and killed Higganbothan.

McKoy and Higganbothan, the son of Sisk, were killed at a home on Pear Tree Lane in Durham. Their bodies were later discovered in the backyard of Moses' mother's home in Durham. McKoy had been shot twice in the head.

During Thursday's sentencing, Sisk's defense attorney said Moses had control of his followers and controlled all women in the house. The defense attorney said that Moses set himself up as a "king" and "tyrant" and ruled over those in the home.

According to Sisk's defense team, Moses recorded videos where he said men were better than women and that when women submit themselves to their husband, they submit themselves to the Lord.

Jadon's father spoke during Thursday's sentencing hearing. He said there is no excuse for what happened to his son.

McKoy's mother also spoke during the hearing, saying the law has let her down and that the whole thing has been "a nightmare for me."

According to McKoy's mother, Antoinetta connected with Moses over Facebook, but she would not allow her daughter to date him while she was still in high school.

McKoy's sister called Sisk a "monster" and said Sisk should be ashamed for letting this happen to her own child. She also said Sisk should ask God for forgiveness and that she would pray for God to have mercy on Sisk's soul.

Sisk did not look at the McKoy family while they spoke. Smith did make eye contact and then spoke to the family, crying while apologizing.

On Wednesday, Lavada Harris received two sentences of about eight years in prison each for her role in the crimes. Moses' brother, P. Leonard Moses, also received two prison sentences Wednesday for his role in the murders and faces a total of up to 13 years in prison.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Owner of Raleigh 'Party Mansion' guilty of tax evasion

    Owner of Raleigh 'Party Mansion' guilty of tax evasion

    Monday, April 14 2014 4:07 PM EDT2014-04-14 20:07:04 GMT
    Claude Verbal II, who now lives in Miami, pleads guilty to a number of federal tax evasion charges.
    Claude Verbal II, who now lives in Miami, pleads guilty to a number of federal tax evasion charges.
  • Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 2:49 PM EDT2014-04-22 18:49:19 GMT
    Image from CNN/KHOU-TVImage from CNN/KHOU-TV
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...
  • NC judge to rule against teacher tenure state law

    NC judge to rule against teacher tenure state law

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 7:18 PM EDT2014-04-23 23:18:26 GMT
    A Guilford County judge is backing two school districts fighting a North Carolina law that phases out job protections for public school teachers in favor of employment contracts.
    A Guilford County judge is backing two school districts fighting a North Carolina law that phases out job protections for public school teachers in favor of employment contracts.
Powered by WorldNow

1350 13th Avenue
Columbus, GA 31901

Telephone: 706.323.3333
Fax: 706.327.6655
Email: news@wrbl.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.