Local News

Some charges dropped against suspect in Durham slayings

Posted July 6, 2011 1:04 p.m. EDT
Updated October 18, 2011 2:39 p.m. EDT

— Four charges were dismissed Wednesday against a Durham man suspected of killing a woman and a boy and burying their remains behind his mother's house.

Peter Lucas Moses, 27, still faces two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Jadon Higganbothan, 5, and Antoinetta Yvonne McKoy, 28.

Jadon was last seen in October, and McKoy had been missing since December. Their remains were found buried last month at 2622 Ashe St., where Moses' mother lived until early this year.

Durham County prosecutors on Wednesday dismissed charges of second-degree kidnapping, assault on a female, assault by pointing a gun and communicating threats against Moses. Those charges stemmed from an incident in which a 16-year-old said Moses kidnapped her, hit her several times, pointed a semi-automatic gun at her and threatened to kill her.

There was no immediate word on why the charges were dropped.

An informant told Durham police in February that Jadon and McKoy were killed inside a home at 2109 Pear Tree Lane, and their bodies were disposed of.

Moses lived at the Pear Tree Lane home with Vania Rae Sisk, 25, who is Jadon's mother, Lavada Quinzetta Harris, 40, Larhonda Renee Smith, 27, and McKoy.

All three women have been indicted on murder charges in McKoy's death and as accessories after the fact of murder in Jadon's death.

All three appeared in court Wednesday, but their attorneys asked that any bond hearings be delayed to give them more time to review the case.

Smith is 6½ months pregnant, her attorney said. Durham County District Attorney Tracey Cline said some of the women's other children could become witnesses in the case.

Moses' mother, Sheilda Evelyn Harris, 56, and two siblings, P. Leonard Moses, 21, and Sheila Falisha Moses, 20, have been indicted as accessories after the fact of murder in McKoy's death.

All three are expected to make court appearances Thursday, while Pete Moses has a hearing scheduled Friday at which prosecutors could decide whether to seek the death penalty against him.

Police repeatedly searched the Pear Tree Lane house early this year, and a search warrant states that they found a bullet, shell casing and evidence of human blood and "overt cleaning" inside.

A court document has linked members of the group with the Black Hebrews, a religious sect that believes it descends directly from the ancient tribes of Israel. Members of the Moses family have denied any link to the sect.