Sect member defies court handwriting order

Two others charged in infant's 1999 murder by starvation comply

Providence Journal/September 25, 2001

New Bedford -- Attleboro sect member Jacques D. Robidoux, charged with murder in the death of his infant son, yesterday refused to give a court-ordered handwriting sample, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors want handwriting samples to determine who wrote diaries that they say detail the starvation death of Samuel Robidoux, who died in April 1999, three days before his first birthday.

A handwriting expert hired by Bristol County Dist. Atty. Paul F. Walsh Jr. devised a two-page writing sample that Robidoux, 28, his wife, Karen E. Robidoux, 26, and his sister, G. Michelle Mingo, 36, were to give yesterday.

Karen Robidoux is also charged with murder in Samuel's death. Mingo is charged with being an accessory before the fact to an assault on Samuel. Prosecutors say that Samuel was taken off solid food after Mingo said she received a vision from God that he was only to have his mother's milk.

Mingo gave her sample early yesterday afternoon, and Karen Robidoux was in the process of giving hers later in the day, according to prosecutors. The first page consists of several paragraphs that one prosecutor described as inconsequential sentences devised by the handwriting expert. The second page is a list of names not connected with the case and numerals. The paragraphs that the three were ordered to write were revised after they objected to some of the wording.

Yesterday morning, Jacques Robidoux notified prosecutors through his lawyer that he only would write out a specific Biblical passage that was not identified in court, and he would not write something that he had not had any say in devising. After a brief hearing, the court order that he give a writing sample was not altered.

The court can do little to force Robidoux to give a handwriting sample. He, his wife and his sister are already being held in jail pending trial because they cannot make bail. Prosecutors said they may go back to court as early as this week to seek a contempt finding against Robidoux, mostly as a legal technicality. Yesterday, a trial date of March 4 was set in the case.

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