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Date Posted: 07:13
Author: Norman - 14 June 2002
Subject: Supposed Prophecy News, Sad...

Jury Gets Case of Infant Starved Over 'Prophesy'
Court: The boy's father, a sect leader, admits he let the child waste away because of a perceived order to deny
food.

, From Associated Press

TAUNTON, Mass. -- Jurors began deliberating the murder case Thursday of
a religious sect leader who admitted that he watched his 1-year-old son
starve to death because he believed a miracle would save the boy.

The jury must decide whether Jacques Robidoux is guilty of first-degree
murder, a lesser charge or should be acquitted in the 1999 death of his son,
Samuel.

Robidoux, 29, a leader
of a small sect known
as "The Body,"
testified that he
watched the infant
waste away over 51
days after Robidoux's
sister received a
prophesy that they
should withhold solid
food from the child. His attorney, Francis O'Boy,
maintained that something other than starvation
could have been the cause of the baby's death.

The jury deliberated for four hours Thursday
without reaching a decision. They were to resume
today.

In closing arguments, O'Boy urged jurors to recognize that Robidoux acknowledged his mistakes and find
him not guilty. He noted that the sect did not believe in modern medicine, and he suggested it might have
been ignorance on the part of Robidoux that led to the boy's death.

"He's no John Gotti," O'Boy told jurors. "He's somebody who's willing to come before you and say, 'I did
something wrong.' Was that something wrong the cause of death? You've got to decide."

Prosecutors say Robidoux saw his son dying over the period in which he allowed the infant to feed only
on his mother's breast milk, which had started to run dry because his mother had become pregnant again.

"You certainly can't hide behind your religion and say, 'I had to let my son starve to death,' " prosecutor
Walter Shea said.

The defense put on its only witness, other than Robidoux, earlier Thursday.

Forensic pathologist Dr. Jeffrey Hubbard testified he could not establish a cause of death, though he
acknowledged he had written a report that listed starvation as a possibility. He said the boy also could
have suffered from scurvy.

Medical experts who testified for the prosecution during the seven-day trial said the brittle, porous
condition of Samuel's bones suggested malnutrition as the cause of death.

Robidoux testified Wednesday that his wife, Karen, wanted to feed the boy solid food, but he wouldn't
allow it because he believed it would have violated a prophecy from God that had been related by his
sister, Michelle Mingo.

"She had been reading the Bible and she had come across three different scriptures. One of them was
Karen had pride and foolishness, that she was vain because of the way she looked ... and that God wasn't
happy with that," he testified.

Karen Robidoux faces a later trial on a charge of second-degree murder. Mingo faces trial on a charge of
assault and battery on a child.

If you want other stories on this topic, search the Archives at latimes.com/archives

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