Cult leader who forced his three wives and nine kids to call him 'Lord' pleads guilty to murdering woman, 28, and boy, 4, because he thought he was gay

Daily Mail/June 11, 2012

The leader of a North Carolina religious cult has pleaded guilty to murdering a 28-year-old woman and a four-year-old boy who he thought was gay.

Peter Lucas Moses, 27, will face two life sentences for shooting to death Jadon Higganbothan and Antoinetta Yvonne McKoy but will avoid the death penalty because he has agreed to testify against others who acted as accessories in the slayings, including his brother, sister and mother.

Moses, who belonged to a sect called the Black Hebrews, lived in a one bedroom house in Durham with the two victims, a number of other women, three of which considered themselves his 'wives', and eight children that he fathered. The group referred to Moses as 'Lord', according to WRAL News.

'In the religious belief of that organization, homosexuality was frowned on,' WRAL quoted former District Attorney Tracey Cline as saying.

Moses told Ms Sisk to 'get rid' of the child, according to prosecutors.

But in October 2010, he took the four-year-old into the garage, shut the door and shot him.

He had ordered two of the women to set up computers and speakers in the garage so he could drown out the gunshot by playing the Lord's prayer in Hebrew, prosectors said.

Both victims were shot in the head, autopsies uncovered.

The decomposing bodies were found stuffed in plastic rubbish bags and lying in shallow graves in the former backyard of Moses' mother, Sheilda Harris, 57.

She lived at 2622 Ashe Street until early this year.

Ms McKoy was shot just before Christmas in 2010 after Moses learned she could not have children and wanted to leave the group.

Prosecutors said she had written diary entries begging 'Lord' not to kill her.

Her relatives said she had known the man since she was a teenager and after he convinced her to join his cult they had not heard from her again.

On the day she was killed, Ms McKoy had ran to a neighbour's home and asked to call her mother who lived in Washington D.C.

The neighbour, who didn't call police, told prosecutors that Moses and the other women came out of the house and struggled with Ms McKoy and dragged her back inside.

A witness told prosecutors he then beat her throughout the day, with the women joining in on at least one occasion.

They then attempted to strangle Ms McKoy with an extension cord.

Ms McKoy begged for her life but Ms Sisk got the gun Moses had used to kill her son and, playing the same religious music played during Jadon's murder, she shot Ms McKoy several times, killing her, prosecutors said.

The group threw a party a few days later where Moses showed the woman's body to his mother, sister, Shiela Moses, 20, and brother P. Leonard Moses, 21.

The case came to police's attention in February when a young woman escaped from the house at 2109 Pear Tree Lane.

Moses' brother, mother and sister are charged as accessories in Ms McKoy's death.

The whistleblower's name has not been revealed but court records show Durham police had a confidential informant in the case.

Members of the Black Hebrews sect believe they have descended directly from the ancient tribes of Israel. According to court documents, the Black Hebrews also believe in an impending 'race war'.

Moses is currently being held in jail without bond.

'He pleaded guilty to two counts of first degree murder and agreed to testify against his co-defendants if he is called upon to testify,' District Attorney Leon Stanback told The Durham Herald Sun.

The other children have been placed in foster homes by Social Services.

They told authorities they feared Moses would do to them 'what he did to Jadon,' Cline said. 'The children are fearful of Pete Moses Jr.'

Ms Sisk denied having a four-year-old child named Jadon, according to WRAL.

Police only verified his existence because of Social Services reports.

Moses' three wives - Sisk, 25, Lavada Quinzetta Harris, 40, and Larhonda Renee Smith, 27 - were charged with murder in Ms McKoy's death and as accessories in Jadon's slaying.

Four of the children living in the house belonged to Ms Sisk while five were Ms Harris'. The children were home-schooled. Police said two of the women were pregnant.

'The arrangement was the women would periodically occupy the master suite with (Moses),' Ms Cline said.

Jamiel Higganbothan, Jadon's father, told WRAL he was furious that prosecutors went ahead with the plea deal for Moses after he told them he was opposed to the offer of a life sentence.

'Me and my family wanted the death penalty,' Mr Higganbothan said, noting that he initially agreed to the deal but later told prosecutors he had changed his mind.

'I'm really not OK with it at all,' he said of Moses spending his life in prison.

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