June 12, 2008
A Riverside County jury found polygamist, Mansa Musa Muhummed, guilty on 25 counts, including torturing seven of the children, abusing 12 of them and falsely imprisoning the wives. Muhummed could spend the rest of his life in prison.
Muhummed, who was born Richard Boddie, told authorities that being Muslim gave him the right to be polygamist. In 1999, after one of his wives, Laura Cowan, slipped a 13-page letter to a postal service worker describing the abuse, he was arrested. His trial started last month after nine years of persistent legal issues, such as changing lawyers four times (which includes representing himself for more than two years).
In the course of the trial, several of his children and stepchildren took the stand, testifying that they had been beaten, starved, strung up by their feet and forced to eat vomit and feces. Muhummed testified in his own defense, sometimes tearful, denying the charges and blaming one of his wives for the alleged abuse.
Justice is served.
May 23, 2008
Brenda Sullivan pleaded guilty in January to three counts of aggravated child abuse, and prosecutors agreed to drop lesser child neglect charges. She was sentenced Thursday to 20 years in prison for keeping her 17-year-old adopted son caged in her home.
When child welfare workers found him in 2005, the teen weighed 49 pounds and was in what appeared to be a cage. Sullivan told a judge at the time that Ohio authorities told her to keep the boy in a crib, because he had severe mental and physical issues.
“There’s only one conclusion when you look at the medical evidence in this case, and that is that she literally starved him,” prosecutor Julie Schlax said.
The two other children in the house, 13-year-old twins the Sullivans adopted as infants, both testified they were kept in similar cages.
Sullivan’s husband was also arrested, but died in January 2007 before he could go to trial.
Sullivan’s lawyer, Charles Fletcher, said he didn’t think prison was the appropriate sentence because she does not pose a threat to society, and thus would appeal the sentence.