Local News

Prosecutors seek more time to try sect members in slayings

Posted August 4, 2011 12:54 p.m. EDT
Updated October 18, 2011 2:39 p.m. EDT

— Prosecutors on Thursday asked for a slower schedule in trying seven members of a religious group charged in the slayings of a Durham boy and a woman.

Peter Lucas Moses, 27, faces first-degree murder charges in the deaths of Jadon Higganbothan, 4, and Antoinetta Yvonne McKoy, 28. Prosecutors said they will seek the death penalty against him.

Durham County District Attorney Tracey Cline filed notice Thursday to declare the case "exceptional," which would put it on an extended timetable. Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson is expected to hear the request in two weeks.

Prosecutors said Moses led a religious group of women and children who called him “Lord” and feared him. They said Moses killed Jadon last October because he thought the child was gay and ordered that McKoy be killed in December after he learned she couldn't have children and wanted to leave the group.

The group lived in a home at 2109 Pear Tree Lane, and searches of the home early this year turned up evidence of blood, shell casings, projectiles and signs of cleaning.

Jadon's and McKoy's bodies were found in June buried behind a house on Ashe Street in Durham where Moses' mother used to live.

Jadon's mother, Vania Rae Sisk, 25, and two other women who lived with Moses, Lavada Quinzetta Harris, 40, and Larhonda Renee Smith, 27, have been charged with murder in McKoy's death and as accessories in the boy's death.

Moses' mother, Sheilda Harris, and siblings P. Leonard Moses and Sheila Moses are charged as accessories in McKoy's death.

Cline also received permission Thursday to share information in the case with child welfare workers.

Sisk's three children, Lavada Harris' five children and Sheila Moses' two children children are in the custody of the Department of Social Services.