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Roommate Charged in ‘Exorcism’ Killings Transferred to Maximum Security Hospital

Mother also charged in the killings was sent to the same facility last week.

Monifa Denise Sanford was charged with murder in connection to the deaths of two children in Germantown, Md. Photo Credit: MCPD
Monifa Denise Sanford was charged with murder in connection to the deaths of two children in Germantown, Md. Photo Credit: MCPD

A Germantown woman charged with murder in the stabbing deaths of two toddlers was ordered to go to a maximum-security psychiatric facility for further evaluation.

Montgomery County District Court Judge Eugene Wolfe on Tuesday ordered that Monifa Denise Sanford, 21, be sent to Clifton T. Perkins Hospital in Jessup, Md., the same place her co-defendant, Zakieya Latrice Avery, was sent last week,  a spokesman for the state's attorney's office said.

The psychological tests are needed in order to determine whether the women are competent to stand trial.

An initial psychological screening for Sanford was ordered Jan. 24 at a local jail. 

Sanford was a professed member of a group called  “Demon Assassins,” which police say was led by Avery, her roommate and the mother of the children who died. 

Avery has also been charged with murder. 

On Jan. 17, police discovered the bodies of a 1-year-old and a 2-year-old in the master bedroom of the women's Germantown townhouse. Avery's other two children were severely wounded.

When interviewed by police, Avery and Sanford reportedly described seeing the children’s eyes blacken as demons entered their bodies, jumping from one child to the next. They claimed the exorcism was needed to cast out the demons.

Police said Avery and Sanford, who was injured during the exorcism, met through Exousia Ministries in Germantown.

Exousia Pastor Darryl W. Joyce told The Gazette that the women were not members of the Christian church when the murders took place. Joyce said the congregation was “shocked and saddened” by the children’s deaths and that the church did not condone such acts of violence (>>> See: ‘Mother charged in exorcism deaths was not active member of local church’ at Gazette.net). 

A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Sanford on Feb. 14. Avery is due in court on Feb. 21.

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