One by one, the pieces of evidence came out of sealed brown paper bags.
A white sweatshirt. A white comforter. A second white comforter. In other sealed bags were pieces of cloth and other items of clothing, not opened in court, but also presumably white.
White was the color of the world for the children of Krisla Rezireksyon (pronounced "resurrection") Kris.
No pinks, no purples. No "Dora the Explorer" or "SpongeBob SquarePants" bedspread prints. No colorful clothing. Just white.
During testimony Tuesday by a former New Jersey State Police forensic scientist, the only color on the linens was rust-brown splotches of dried blood. Future testimony will determine whose blood it was.
White was the color worn exclusively by Krisla Rezireksyon Kris, who is on trial for the murder of her daughter and the abuse of her other two children in Superior Court in Essex County.
She and the other followers of a self-proclaimed Haitian "prophet" named Emanyel Rezireksyon Kris dressed in white robes and head coverings, standing out in the gritty Irvington neighborhood where the family lived on Chancellor Avenue, atop a row of bodegas, chicken joints and a Chinese food place that sells take-out from behind Plexiglas.
They called themselves "Walking with Christ" and held daily prayer sessions in Krisla's place or in Emanyel's apartment on Elmora Avenue in Elizabeth. At the time of Krisla's arrest, Emanyel's neighbors said the children, unable to walk, were carried into these services.
The group was often seen traveling together, with the children, in a white Jeep Grand Cherokee between the apartments and a bakery Emanyel owned on North Avenue in Union, not far from his home.
The interiors of both apartments were covered in white sheets, tacked to the ceilings and walls and floors. Whether it was a symbol of purity or austerity, it was the color of hell for the children, according to the indictment.
Emanyel has since gone out of business and his whereabouts are unknown. Also not known is whether the group has disbanded, but they have had no presence in court during the trial. The woman whose life they commandeered -- the woman who was pictured with her children wearing smiles and colorful clothes in the years before meeting Emanyel -- now answers for the crimes against her children alone.
Krisla is charged with 35 counts of murder and child endangerment in the death of her 8-year-old daughter, Christiania Glenn, and starvation of her other two children. Christina was 7 and Solomon was 5 when they were found in the Irvington apartment where the family lived.
Christiana's cause of death was malnutrition and complications from an untreated broken femur. Christina, too, had a broken leg and Solomon had a fracture in his arm.
During the opening of the trial last week, it took Judge Michael L. Ravin about 45 minutes to read the indictment to the jury, which included charges that Krisla tied the children to a radiator, assaulted them with "various weapons," denied them medical treatment for broken legs, arms and feet, and forced them to kneel in salt with heavy objects on their heads. This was apparently done while the children had open wounds.
The indictment covered a period from August 2010 to May 22, 2011, when Krisla called 911 because Christiana was unresponsive. The other children were found huddled in another room, after Krisla denied they were there, and were removed by authorities. They are now in the custody of a relative.
Myriam Janvier, another sect follower who lived with Krisla and the children in Irvington, will face multiple child endangerment charges in a separate trial.
In Tuesday's testimony, retired State Police forensic scientist Annette Estilow took the stand to painstakingly identify items removed from the Irvington apartment that were tested for skin cells and DNA.
The first several items were strands of rope – not white, but with a black and yellow pattern slightly resembling snakeskin.
These were used to tie the children to radiators in the apartment and a white window grate, also put into evidence. Some of the ropes had other wires attached, such as extension cords or speaker jacks.
With Essex County Assistant Prosecutor Kathleen Lyons-Boswick asking questions and cataloging the evidence, brown paper bag after brown paper bag was identified and opened. Krisla Rezireksyon Kris sat, as always, with an impassive look on her face. If her eyes showed pain, or regret, those emotions were minimized by her thick glasses.
The defendant, formerly named Venette Ovilde, no longer wears all white. She comes to court dressed in modest clothes of muted colors – beige, gray and black – with her hair encased in a black head wrap.
She is also alone. Not a single family member or "Walking with Christ" follower has been to court since the trial opened last week. Neither has Shakyieal Glenn, the father of the children.
"Nobody," said her attorney, Adrien Moncur.
Subpoenas for the sect leader and other followers have not been answered, and the court gallery behind her remains empty every day.
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