Judgment day comes for cult leader

Siskiyou Daily News, February 10, 2000

YREKA - One of the more bizarre criminal cases in Siskiyou County Came to a close Tuesday when a Valley Ford man once proclaiming to be Jesus was sentenced to state prison for the assault and rape of one of his female disciples.

Robert Martin Lloyd, who had his name legally changed in 1998 to Master David, appeared briefly in Siskiyou County Superior Court on Tuesday with his attorney Public Defender Mario Novello. Novello informed the court that after lengthy negotiations with the District Attorney's Office and his client, an agreeable plea bargain had been worked out.

David then entered a plea of guilty to one count of assault with great bodily injury, and one count of forcible rape. In exchange for his pleading, a total of eleven other counts consisting of false imprisonment by violence, battery, making terrorist threats, aggravated mayhem, torture, and additional assault charges were dismissed. Immediate sentencing was then requested.

Judge Robert F. Kaster announced that "per the agreement" David would be sentenced to a total of nine years in state prison. He said that because of the nature of the crimes, which are both strikes under California's three strikes law, David would only be eligible for fifteen percent good time work credits while incarcerated.

Because he is not a citizen of the United States, Kaster said he will be deported back to England after he is released from prison.

If David had gone to trial and was convicted on all counts, he could have been sentenced to at least one term of 25-years to life in prison. David first came to the attention of Siskiyou County law enforcement in October of 1995, when a woman who was treated in the emergency room of a local hospital reported that a man had held her against her will, raped her repeatedly, and broken her leg with a rock.

The woman stated she had managed to escape from the RV park near McCloud where she and other followers had been staying with the man who had taken the name of "His Holiness Master David," an ordained minister with the Essence Church of the Fields.

The group had camped in various places throughout the Western states, including locally near Stewart Springs, Mt. Shasta, and McCloud. David escaped being caught by local authorities but was finally arrested on Christmas Eve, 1997, while attempting to deliver a teddy bear to the governor in Sacramento.

He reportedly went up to a security guard on the capitol steps and told him there might be a warrant for him out of Siskiyou County.

After confirming the warrant, the officer placed David under arrest. He was extradited to Siskiyou County where he immediately insisted on representing himself, proclaiming all the while that he was Jesus and "knew all." He ate nothing but candy bars at the jail and was seen on several occasions drinking water from puddles within an exercise area of the jail. Several psychological examinations were done on him and David was finally determined not competent to stand trial.

In July 1998 David was sent to Atascadero State Hospital for up to four years or until determined competent.

Upon checking his court file, it was learned that in 1998, shortly after his arrest, David filed papers with the courts against the alleged victim, claiming he was suing the woman who brought the false charges against him.

"If I could spend a few hours with her no doubt she would apologize," he wrote, adding, "unfortunately she is the perpetrator." David claimed the "womyn" (his spelling) signed a rigid contract as did his other followers, and that she had broken that contract by leaving the path of "truth and love."

In letters to the Siskiyou Daily News, David wrote of the woman as, "tender love" and "princess."

Proclaimed excerpts of the woman's alleged diary were also received, which reflected strict teachings by "his master," written mostly in gothic terms. David also wrote that the victim actually took the training course willingly for two-and-a-half years, explaining that, "under the intense strain of the program one aspires for perfection."

The program was described in part as being a program that teaches someone to respond to violence with love while finding peace within. David even offered a Daily News reporter the opportunity to participate in the program for "just a few minutes." adding, "it is difficult to understand that the program is simply a speeded up version of an individual karmic life lesson that experienced with me by your side living out in my heart and mind and body suffering or difficulties that are too much for you to bear." Unexpectedly, only two and a half months after being sent to Atascadero, David was returned to Siskiyou County with the psychiatric hospital claiming he was fine.

After yesterday's hearing David politely thanked Novello and District Attorney Pete Knoll. Both Novello and Knoll stated they were pleased with the outcome and settlement of the case.

On Feb. 15 at 9 a.m., David will be back in court one more time before going to prison. Local custody credits for time spent in jail will be calculated at that time.

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