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A judge yesterday imposed a five-year probation sentence on a Trinidadian woman who starved her one year-old son to death allegedly at the urging of a religious cult leader.
Baltimore Circuit Judge Timothy J Doory imposed the sentence on Ria Ramkissoon, 23, who last year pleaded guilty to abuse resulting in the death of Javon Thompson. Ramkissoon, who has been in jail since her August 2008 arrest, will not serve any further jail time. The judge suspended the balance of her 20-year sentence, ordering her to report to a residential treatment facility for young women. She admitted in court to denying food and water to the child when he did not say “Amen” before a meal.
Prosecutors said Javon wasted away over the course of a week before his heart stopped beating. They said at the time of Javon’s death, Ramkissoon was living here with a small religious cult, led by a woman who calls herself “Queen Antoinette.” Ramkissoon was raised a Hindu, but converted to Christianity when she was a teenager, prosecutors said, adding that “Queen Antoinette” allegedly told Ramkissoon that Javon had a “spirit of rebellion” inside him and that denying him food would cure him. “Queen Antoinette”, her daughter Trevia Williams and another follower, Marcus A Cobbs, have been convicted of second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death. They face 60 years in prison when they are sentenced next month.
“I just want to say thank you to everybody that did their best and listened to me, and believed in me,” Ramkissoon told the court at her sentencing earlier this week. Her attorney, Steven D Silverman, said Ramkissoon was intimidated by “Queen Antoinette.” “She was really sucked in and duped by these people,” he told reporters after the sentencing,” he said. “I think she is starting to realise, albeit painfully realise, that there will be no resurrection, that ‘Queen Antoinette’ never spoke with God.” Julie Drake, Assistant State Attorney, said the sentence was compassionate but fair. “The state has always seen her as something of a victim in this case,” she said. (CMC)