Accused Cult Members Want to Represent Themselves

Associated Press/July 14, 2009

Two members of a religious cult have told a Baltimore judge they want to represent themselves at their upcoming trial for the starvation death of a toddler.

Queen Antoinette and Trevia Williams are two of four members of a now-defunct religious group who are accused of denying food and water to 1-year-old Javon Thompson after the boy refused to say "Amen" after meals.

The four were scheduled to go to trial Tuesday, but the trial was postponed because the attorney for another cult member had a scheduling conflict.

Prosecutors asked Baltimore Circuit Judge John Addison Howard either to appoint attorneys to represent Antoinette and Williams or to find that they had waived their right to counsel. Both told Howard that they wanted to represent themselves, although Antoinette initially said she wanted a lawyer.

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