In the story of Anneliese Michel, we learned how a mentally ill woman was allowed to slowly starve herself to death, based only solely upon the belief by both herself and her family that she had been possessed by demons. It would seem that this reliance upon faith healing is a relatively rare occurrence, however, there are many who still believe that the devil and demonic spirits can possess the living. Sometimes the consequences of these beliefs are relatively benign, but other times these beliefs can have fatal results.
On August 9, 2015, police officers were called to a domestic violence situation where a woman’s boyfriend had stabbed her on the sidewalk in front of a Manhattan apartment complex the two had been living. The woman had been identified as Broadway actress and granddaughter of actor Morgan Freedman, E’Dena Hines. Hines was stabbed 15 times, including in her heart, liver, and lungs during what police have described as a “drug induced psychosis” her boyfriend had been experiencing at the time.
Witnesses heard Hines’ boyfriend, Lamar Davenport, screaming “Jesus Christ is born!” and “I cast you out, devils, in the name of Jesus Christ! I cast you out!” as he stood over Hines stabbing her to death. Davenport has been charged with second-degree murder for the actress’ death. If convicted he faces life in prison.
The East Bay Exorcism
Five fundamentalist Christian women were charged with beating a Korean woman to death during a ceremony they believed would help cast out evil spirits.
Kyong-A Ha had become acquainted with the group after her family urged her to meet with fundamentalist Christian sect leader Jean Park. According to Park, the ritual was intended to treat Ha of insomnia. Instead the ritual escalated out of control. Ha was hit over 100 times in the chest and face by Park and other group members, causing her to suffer broken ribs as her cries for help were muffled by a towel.
Rather than alert authorities immediately, Ha’s body was left in the three bedroom East Bay apartment the group had used as a meeting place. The women wrapped Ha’s corpse in an electric blanket and a quilt believing that she had gone on a “heavenly journey” and would soon return. Several days passed and the smell of Ms. Ha’s decomposing body forced Park into calling Ha’s family. The women deny any wrongdoing in Ha’s death and claim that “It’s a victory for Jesus Christ.”
Eder Guzman-Rodriguez strangled and knocked his wife unconscious before performing an exorcism ritual on the couple’s two-year-old daughter. Guzman-Rodriguez claims that as he was performing the ritual the demon that had possessed his daughter entered into his body. The demon forced him to punch and strangle the little girl to death.
Police arrived to find people standing around with bibles outside of the couple’s trailer. The child had been wrapped in a blanked and surrounded in bibles and other religious items as her mother sat wailing on a couch inside. It was clear that the mother had also sustained injuries to her face and neck.
Guzman-Rodriguez admits that he was the only one present to injure the child. His wife testified that Guzman-Rodriguez had “gone off the deep end” and that the devil had possessed him. Guzman-Rodriguez was sentenced to 20 years and 11 months in prison.
One Monstrous Mommy
A one and a two-year-old were murdered and two more children were injured when the children’s mother and a roommate were believed to be performing an exorcism on the children. Police were called to the scene when a concerned neighbor saw the woman’s car door open and a knife on the ground.
Zakieya L. Avery and Monifa Sanford told investigators that they believed evil spirits had been possessing the children and moved from child to child. Monifa stabbed the children during the ritual, resulting in the death of two of the children and leaving another two critically injured. Had Avery’s neighbor not phoned the police, officials say that the two older children would likely have been found dead as well.
Both women were indited on two counts of first degree murder, as well as two additional counts of attempted first degree murder.
A Teen Terrorized
After seeking help from their local pastor, an Argentinian family came to the belief that a teenage girl had been possessed by the devil. Under the pastor’s instruction, the family gang-raped and savagely beat the young women. Her sister then took a knife and cut out the teen’s eyes in order to stop the terrifying visions the girl was reportedly having.
The teen is now recovering in an intensive care unit. The teen’s older sister as well as the men believed to have been involved in raping her have been placed under arrest. No word on what charges the group is facing for the teen’s assault.