Another defendant in cult starving case to defend self

February 19, 2010

A man accused of starving a 1-year-old boy to death while part of a religious cult has fired his attorney and will represent himself at trial, alongside two other cult members who also don't have lawyers. Marcus A. Cobbs, 23, told a judge during jury selection Wednesday that he wanted to fire his public defender, Maureen Rowland. Baltimore Circuit Judge Timothy J. Doory asked him a series of questions before allowing him to dismiss her. Cobbs then took a seat at the defense table next to two other members of the now-defunct group called 1 Mind Ministries: Queen Antoinette, 41, and her daughter, Trevia Williams, 22. Antoinette and Williams have not had lawyers since their arrests. The three are accused of denying food and water to toddler Javon Thompson on Antoinette's orders because he did not say "Amen" after meals. After the boy died in January 2007, authorities say, the cult members spent several days praying for his resurrection, then stuffed his body in a suitcase and brought it to Philadelphia.

- Associated Press

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