Baltimore - A woman who pleaded guilty to starving her child to death while part of a cult will be released from jail her attorney said Tuesday.
Ria Ramkissoon, 22, will be enrolled in a counseling program on a farm in rural northeast Maryland, according to lawyers on both sides. The program, which has no fences or guards, was chosen for her by a city prosecutor who arranges alternative sentencing options.
"It's not a correctional facility. It's a place for her to get reacclimated. She'll be part of a community and have a job and responsibilities," said Steven D. Silverman, Ramkissoon's attorney. "She's very excited about the opportunity to do something positive."
Ramkissoon pleaded guilty in March to child abuse resulting in death. Authorities said she was part of a cult that denied food and water to 1-year-old Javon Thompson because the boy did not say "amen" after meals.
After the boy died, the cult leader, Queen Antoinette, told her followers to pray for his resurrection, according to police and prosecutors. The sect's members ultimately placed Javon's body in a suitcase and hid it behind a house in Philadelphia, where police found it in 2008, more than a year after his death, authorities said.
Mr. Silverman said that Ramkissoon was brainwashed by the cult and therefore not individually responsible for her son's death.
Ramkissoon's pleas agreement provides for a 20-year suspended sentence and five years of probation.
Ramkissoon has no previous criminal history.
The cult leader. Antoinette, 41 and other cult members Trevia Williams, 21; Marcus A. Cobbs, 22; and Steven L. Bynum, 43 - are scheduled for trial in October on charges including first-degree murder.
Note: This is a news summary of a Washington Times article titled "Mother who starved son gets counseling program" originally published August 12, 2009. The Washington Times is controlled by purported "cult leader" Rev. Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church.