Former members of alleged 'Carbon Nation' cult comforted by judge's decision to deny leader bond

The judge said Eligio Bishop is a flight risk and a danger to the community.

WXIA-TV News, Georgia/May 6, 2022

By  Jon Shirek

Dekalb County, Georgia — An alleged cult leader accused of rape will remain in jail after a judge denied him bond.

Eligio Bishop, also known as "Nature Boy," appeared before a DeKalb County judge Friday.

Judge Mark Scott denied his bond after hearing from the prosecutor and defense attorney.

"The defendant is a danger to the community, a risk to intimidating the victim, a risk of flight, and is at risk of committing an additional felony. So bond will be denied," he said.

For Velvet Marquez, those words are a step in the right direction.

"This bond hearing is definitely celebrated by the survivors of the Carbon Nation cult," she said.

RELATED: 'He abused me' | Wife of alleged cult leader speaks out after his arrest

Marquez, who says Bishop forced her to marry him when she was still a part of the cult and has a child with him, believes keeping him behind bars, will also keep former and current members, safe.

“We all have a very serious healing journey that's ahead of us and we do not need Bishop taunting us, harassing us, and threatening us while we are healing," she added.

In court Friday, the prosecutor read a letter from the victim who came forward.

“I watched him whip a girl with a leather belt multiple times for 15 minutes straight ordering her to kiss our feet while whipping her. He didn’t stop hitting her until he felt like it and until she cried in submission," she read.

The prosecutor added that Bishop has called his current followers from jail, asking them to contact the victim and get her to drop the charges.

RELATED: 'It was mental and verbal abuse' | Former cult member speaks out after leader's arrest

Former member Erikka Carroll prays the woman who came forward stands her ground.

“He's very manipulative. So I didn't want him to manipulate somebody or manipulate the judge to the point where they feel sorry for him or he manipulates them to work in his favor," Carroll said.

The defense brought up Bishop’s former employment as a barber and claimed he needs to be out of jail to seek medical care.

“He has a tooth that has decayed down to the root causing him extreme pain," he said. "He has sought medical care for that situation and all that he's been able to get for a response is that there's currently a long waiting list at the jail."

During the proceedings, prosecutors also released new, disturbing video of Bishop and other alleged cult members.

Bishop's cult reportedly began as one centered around sexual and naturalist themes, though social media accounts indicate more recently it has reoriented around Bishop's own messianic self-image and Black liberation messaging.

When he was arrested at an upscale cul-de-sac outside Decatur, SWAT team members converged on the home and broke down a door and first encountered several of his followers, including a child.

RELATED: 'I'm the return of Christ' | Alleged cult leader arrested on charges including rape in DeKalb County

There were 14 other people in the house when Bishop was arrested on April 14.

According to DeKalb County Jail records, Bishop faces five charges: rape, false imprisonment, and three counts of "prohibition on nude or sexually explicit electronic transmissions" — under Georgia law, a violation of sending nude or explicit communications of someone "without the consent of the depicted person."

“[The defense] was bringing up points that really was irrelevant to me," Carroll said. "It was just very weak points. To me, it was just weak points.”

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