Woman charged exorcism murder may avoid jail

WASHINGTON – A local woman accused of murdering two toddlers might be heading to a hospital instead of prison. A state psychiatrist’s report concluded that she was legally insane and, therefore, not criminally responsible.

They called themselves the “demon assassins.” On January 17th, Monifa Sanford, 21, and Zakieya Avery, 29, thought evil spirits were inside Avery’s four young children, so they tried to drive out the demons through exorcisms. They stabbed a 1-year-old and 2-year- old and wounded two other children in their Germantown home.

More on the case, here.

Both women were charged with murder and after their arrests, underwent psychiatric evaluations. A psychiatrist’s report revealed in court Friday concluded that Sanford was delusional during the attack and didn’t realize what she was doing. In Maryland, if the court finds someone legally insane when they commit a crime, the defendant is not criminally responsible. The penalty could be hospitalization instead of a prison sentence. The psychiatrist’s opinion of Avery’s state-of-mind have not been made public, yet.

If they are both convicted of murder, they face life in prison.

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