Local News

Fingerprint links accused Durham sect leader to dead bodies

Posted February 8, 2012 12:48 p.m. EST
Updated February 8, 2012 2:12 p.m. EST

— Investigators have matched a fingerprint from the shallow graves of a Durham boy and a woman with the leader of a religious sect who has been charged in their deaths, according to search warrants released Wednesday.

The bodies of Jadon Higganbothan, 4, and Antoinetta Yvonne McKoy, 28, were found in June buried behind a house on Ashe Street in Durham. McKoy was shot twice in the top of the head and once in the right arm, and Jadon was shot once in the top of the head, according to autopsy reports.

Peter Lucas Moses, 27, faces first-degree murder charges in their deaths, and prosecutors have said they plan to seek the death penalty against him.

Search warrants seeking high-quality fingerprints of three others charged in the case – Moses' mother, Sheilda Harris, his brother, P. Leonard Moses, and girlfriend Larhonda Renee Smith – state that Pete Moses' fingerprint was found on a piece of clear tape used to secure trash bags covering the bodies.

Investigators want the fingerprints to compare with other partial fingerprints found on the tape and the trash bags, according to the warrants.

Authorities said Moses led a religious group of women and children who called him “Lord” and feared him. The group lived in a home at 2109 Pear Tree Lane in Durham, and searches of the home turned up evidence of blood, shell casings, projectiles and signs of cleaning.

An informant told police that Moses killed Jadon in October 2010 because he thought the child was gay and ordered that McKoy be killed two months later after he learned she couldn't have children and wanted to leave the group.

Jadon's mother, Vania Rae Sisk, and two other women who lived with Moses, Smith and Lavada Quinzetta Harris, have been charged with murder in McKoy's death and as accessories in the boy's death.

Harris, Leonard Moses and his sister, Sheila Moses, are charged as accessories in McKoy's death.