A Germantown mother and her her roommate, both accused of killing two children during an exorcism, will likely use insanity defenses at their trials later this year.
A Montgomery County Circuit judge Friday set a trial date of July 28 for Zakieya Avery, the mother charged with killing her two children, reports WTOP.
On Jan. 17, police discovered the bodies of a 1-year-old and a 2-year-old in the master bedroom of the women's Germantown townhouse. Avery's other two children were severely wounded.
When interviewed by police, Avery and her roommate, Monifa Sanford, reportedly described seeing the children’s eyes blacken as demons entered their bodies, jumping from one child to the next. They claimed the exorcism was needed to cast out the demons.
Police said Avery and Sanford, who was injured during the exorcism, met through Exousia Ministries in Germantown.
Avery also allegedly stabbed and injured her other two children. She is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder.
Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy said Avery will likely enter a plea of insanity in the near future.
Both Avery and Sanford have been sent to Clifton T. Perkins Hospital in Jessup, Md. Psychological tests are needed in order to determine whether the women are competent to stand trial.
Sanford was a professed member of a group called “Demon Assassins,” which police say was led by Avery.
In a separate court appearance Friday, Sanford, who is charged with same offenses, entered a plea.
"Ms. Sanford, through her attorney, filed a plea that we anticipated, which is a plea of not criminally responsible, which is tantamount to basically pleading insanity at the time of the crime," McCarthy said in the WTOP story.
Sanford will undergo a mental evaluation. Her trial is scheduled for Aug. 25.
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