Posted Aug. 18. 2008 – God never raised 1-year-old Javon Thompson from the dead, as Queen Antoinette had promised, so the lifeless body of the starved baby lay in a back room for nearly a week and decomposed, police say.
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Javon’s mother, Ria Ramkissoon, allegedly denied him food and water for two days because he wouldn’t say “Amen” after meals. She was apparently carrying out a strict edict handed down by Queen Antoinette, the leader of an alleged cult known as 1 Mind Ministries.
The 40-year-old Antoinette brought in her followers and ordered them to pray for God to raise the boy from the dead.
Ramkissoon, 21, and four other members of the group have been charged with first-degree murder. But Ramkissoon's attorney says that his client has been brainwashed by the cult.
"The members of this cult, who were more than twice her age, were calling the shots," Ramkissoon's attorney, Steven D. Silverman, said Tuesday after a court hearing, The Associated Press reports. "She bought the program hook, line and sinker."
According to prosecutors, 1 Mind Ministries is a small, secret religious organization whose members – which total about a dozen or so – dress in white and administer medical care. Antoinette, AP reports, is also known as Toni Sloan or Toni Ellsberry, and she refers to her followers "princes" and "princesses." She and her followers “were possessive of the children under their care,” the news agency reports.
The details of the matron's religious beliefs are fuzzy. What is clear, authorities say, is that the group qualifies as a cult.
"It fits the profile of a classic cult in the sense that it's a personality-driven group and that Queen Antoinette is that animating personality and central defining element of the group," said Rick A. Ross, who has studied cults for 26 years. He says that children have been killed in groups like this for lack of obedience to cult teachings.
Seeta Khadan-Newton, Ramkissoon’s mother, moved her daughter from her native Trinidad when her daughter was 8.
“Khadan-Newton is Hindu, but her daughter became a Christian,” but “Ramkissoon's church betrayed her trust … when its pastor pleaded guilty to molesting boys in the congregation,” AP reports.