Cult leader gets two life sentences for the murders of a little boy and one of his wives

Peter Moses Jr. will spend the rest of his days locked up after prosecutors in Durham, N.C., found him responsible for the deaths of Jadon Higganbothan and Antoinetta McKoy. The former leader of the 'Black Hebrew Israelites' apologized in court for his actions

The New York Daily News/July 5, 2013

The head of a polygamous sect was given two life sentences on Friday for the murders of a 4-year-old boy and a wife who tried to escape his cult.

Prosecutors in Durham, N.C., found Peter Moses Jr. responsible for the shooting deaths of little Jadon Higganbothan and 28-year-old Antoinetta McKoy - two innocent victims of the "Black Hebrew Israelites."

Moses called himself the chosen leader of one of the ancient tribes of Israel. His wives called him "Lord." But Yvonne McKoy, the mother of the slain Antoinetta, called the 28-year-old a liar.

"This man deceived me," Yvonne said as she confronted Moses in court on Friday. "He took something very dear and precious from me."

"To know [my daughter] begged for her life is even more painful," WNCN heard the mother say. "I don't know if you want to apologize. That's your choice."

Hearing that plea, Moses responded, "I'm sorry for what happened to your daughter."

Four others have pleaded guilty to the killings. One of them, Vania Sisk, was Higganbothan's mother. According to prosecutors, Sisk watched while Moses put a gun to her little boy's head.

A plumber found the victims' bodies stuffed in plastic bags in the backyard of Moses' mother's home in 2011.

From his house on Pear Tree Lane, Moses managed to closely monitor and control his five "wives." The women called one another sisters, studied the Bible together and shared chores. They would periodically share Moses' bed.

The women handed any money they earned over to their leader, while Moses sat at home and brooded over his theology.

In YouTube videos shown in court, Moses revealed the pillars of his faith. He preaches from the Bible and looks forward to an end time when he will be surrounded by servile women. He is certain that the black race will rise over all others.

"A lot of you hate order, you hate instruction, and that's why the Lord's going to kill a lot of you," he said in a video obtained by WRAL.

He kept his wives in line by feeding them his twisted doctrine.

"You were cursed to serve. You are our possession," Moses said about women. "Get that through your head."

All of the children in the household were fathered by Moses - everyone except little Higganbothan.

Moses was convinced that the 4-year-old boy's father was gay. When Higganbothan struck another child in the buttocks, Moses took it as proof of the child's homosexuality, prosecutors said.

Higganbothan was dragged to a garage and shot in the head while a recording of the Lord's Prayer in Hebrew blasted in the background.

When McKoy attempted to leave the group, she was allegedly dragged into the house by her sister wives, beaten and then shot. Attorneys said in court that it was Sisk who pulled the trigger, The Herald Sun reports. The last thing McKoy heard was the same recording of the Lord's Prayer that played during Higganbothan's death.

Sisk will spend up to 19 years in prison after pleading guilty to a number of charges against her. She is also scheduled to receive mental health treatment in jail.

Moses' lawyer blamed his client's actions on bipolar disorder and lost Medicaid benefits. He said that Moses' mental illness "made him do something monstrous," ABC reports.

In a previously recorded YouTube video, Moses said he knew right from wrong.

"I know enough to know what is expected of me and what to do and what not to do," he said in the video. "The Lord knows my heart."

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