'Daughter of God' gets 25 years for masterminding heists

MSNBC News/August 11, 2000
By The Associated Press

FORT MYERS, Fla., Aug. 10 - A woman who called herself the "daughter of God" was sentenced Wednesday to 25 years in prison for masterminding a string of New Year's Eve armed robberies to support an opulent lifestyle.

Richelle Denise Bradshaw, self-proclaimed Queen Shahmia, denied ever telling her "manservants" to steal. "God is going to have his way. If prison is where he chooses I go, I go with a beautiful smile," Bradshaw told Circuit Judge Thomas Reese before sentencing. "I have not deceived. I have not lied. I am Queen Shahmia."

Prosecutor Felicia Wilcox disagreed. "The defendant is without remorse and does not accept responsibility for her behavior," Wilcox said.

Jurors had convicted Bradshaw of seven felony counts on July 3 after a follower testified Bradshaw directed her entourage to go out and "plunder the Earth."

Bradshaw, 34, could have been sentenced up to 85 years in prison for conspiracy to commit robbery, five counts of robbery and grand theft. Investigators said two convenience stores, two restaurants and a theater were held up.

Bradshaw's nomadic ministry group included her husband, Phillip Bradshaw, four followers and eight children. They traveled around Florida living on donations and staying in luxury hotels, authorities said.

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