ROCKVILLE, Md.(WUSA9) -- It was the first day in court Tuesday for the two
Germantown women accused of murdering two young children and attempting
to kill two more.
It has become a bizarre case involving exorcism.
Zakieka Avery, the mother of the four children and her friend
21-year-old Monifa Sanford appeared separately on closed circuit TV in
court to hear the charges against them. Judge Gary Everingham ordered
both held in jail until their next court appearance. But the bizarre
series of events that prosecutors believe lead up to the murders has
also resulted in a court ordered psychiatric evaluation of Avery's
competency to stand trial.
Sanford's case has been delayed while she changes lawyers, but
Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy says there is likely to
be a psychiatric evaluation in her case too. In court he said they are
necessary since Avery had been committed to a psychiatric facility once
before and Sanford claims to have made two suicide attempts.
court McCarthy laid out a series of bizarre events telling the judge
that the two women murdered a one-year-old girl and a two-year-old boy,
both Avery's children because they believed were possessed by demons and
then tried to do the same to two older children.
belonged to a church center dance group called the Demon Assassins, but
Montgomery County Police Captain Marcus Jones says they do not believe
two other members of that group were involved in the murders.
defense team for both women did not object to the competency reviews
adding all they want is justice in the case. Sanford, who will get a new
lawyer hired by her family is due back in court on January 24.
If eventually convicted, both women could face life in prison.