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Judge Orders Mental Evaluation for Roommate in ‘Demon Assassin’ Slayings of 2 Toddlers

"This case is a tragedy on a variety of levels," said the lawyer representing a woman charged in killings attributed to an alleged attempted exorcism.

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

(Updated 4:40 p.m.) A judge has ordered a psychological evaluation for a Germantown woman charged with murder in connection with the killings of two toddlers, stabbed to death in what authorities said the woman believed was an exorcism.

Monifa Denise Sanford, 21, a professed member of a group called  “Demon Assassins” that police say was led by her roommate, appeared in a Rockville courtroom Friday via video.

Sanford, appearing short in stature behind a lectern, spoke with a high-pitched voice, answering in one-word responses when the judge asked her questions. When asked if she were able to understand the proceedings, she responded, "Yes."

The judge ordered a psychological evaluation and ordered her to return to court Jan. 31.

Montgomery County District Court Judge Eugene Wolfe also ordered on Friday that Sanford’s roommate, Zakieya Latrice Avery, be transferred to Clifton T. Perkins Hospital, a maximum-security psychiatric hospital in Jessup, for further mental evaluation. Avery, the children's mother and the purported leader of the "Demon Assassins," has also been charged in the killings.

The evaluations will determine whether the women are competent to stand trial.

On Jan. 17, police discovered the bodies of a 1-year-old and a 2-year-old in the master bedroom of a Germantown townhouse. Two other children were severely wounded but are expected to survive.

State’s Attorney John McCarthy said the issue of whether the women were criminally responsible for the deaths because of their mental states has not yet been raised and could still be entered into court proceedings.

David Felsen, an attorney representing Sanford, said it was too early to comment on the facts of the case.

“This case is a tragedy on a variety of levels,” Felsen said.

McCarthy said Sanford could be transferred to Clifton T. Perkins after the initial evaluation.

(Original post) The Germantown woman who professed to be part of a “Demon Assassins” group led by her roommate is set to go before a judge Friday for charges of first-degree murder and attempted murder.

A 1-year-old and a 2-year-old were stabbed to death at a Germantown townhouse on Jan. 17. Two other children were severely wounded but are expected to survive.

Monifa Denise Sanford, who has the court appearance, and her roommate Zakieya Latrice Avery—the mother of all four children—were charged in connection with the deaths and stabbings. They reportedly told investigators they were trying to perform an exorcism on the children.

According to prosecutors, Sanford and Avery claimed they were part of a group known as the “Demon Assassins,” purportedly led by Avery.

On Tuesday, a Montgomery County District Court judge ordered that Avery undergo a psychological evaluation.

The State’s Attorney’s office is expected to make a similar request for Sanford.

Robert Kidd January 26, 2014 at 03:57 PM
Put the rabid dog down.

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