Baltimore Police Department
Ria Ramkissoon

Resurrection Part of Plea Deal in Starvation Death

April 01, 2009 03:00 PM
by Cara McDonough
Cult member Ria Ramkissoon’s unusual plea agreement includes the promise that charges will be dropped if her son is brought back to life.

Mother Claims Son Will Be Brought Back to Life

When 22-year-old Baltimore resident Ria Ramkissoon and other cult members allegedly starved her two-year-old son Javon to death, it was under the command of 1 Mind Ministries leader Queen Antoinette. Antoinette believed the child was a demon because he failed to say “amen” after he was fed.

The highly unusual plea agreement includes a “process of deprogramming” for Ramkissoon as well as a promise that charges will be dropped if Javon is resurrected. Ramkissoon's attorney said his client insisted on the clause, “which he believes is a first in American legal history, because she still holds out hope that her son will be brought back to life,” reports The Baltimore Sun.
After the boy died, Queen Antoinette reportedly told 1 Mind Ministries members, “if everyone believed and had enough faith, Javon could be raised.” ABC News reported the story of Javon’s tragic and unusual death in a video segment in August.
The deal stipulates that Ramkissoon, who received a 20-year prison sentence, will have all but time served suspended, followed by five years of probation, if she testifies against other members of 1 Mind Ministries. She will also undergo two sessions of “deprogramming” with a cult expert.

“She believes that the child will be resurrected, and that if she gives up hope of that happening, it would call decisions she's made in the past into question,” said defense attorney Steven D. Silverman, as quoted by the Sun.

Antoinette, 40, and three group members were headed to trial this week, but the case was postponed because Antoinette and one of the others lacked legal counsel. 

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Background: Ramkissoon’s affiliation with 1 Mind Ministries

According to court documents, Ramkissoon joined the mysterious cult, 1 Mind Ministries, shortly after her son’s birth in 2005. She allegedly “rejected her family’s Hindu religion, became a devout Christian and wanted to raise her son in that religion,” CNN reports.

Members then insisted she wear a uniform in the colors of the group’s royalty: white, tan and blue; give up her cell phone; stop calling family members by name; and never leave her home alone.

After starving her son to death, she reportedly put his body in a suitcase that was hidden in a shed behind a home in Philadelphia for more than a year. Authorities eventually found the suitcase and conducted DNA tests.

During her court appearance in August 2008, Ramkissoon wore a purple jumpsuit and had a “blank expression” on her face,Tthe Associated Press reported. She answered only “Yes,” when asked if she had read the charges against her.

Related Topic: Cults and religious groups

Although outsiders have no trouble seeing the behavior of cult members as erratic, strange and dangerous, many groups such as 1 Mind Ministries have convinced members to commit seemingly senseless acts, including murder and suicide.

On March 26, 1997, the bodies of 39 members of the Heaven's Gate cult were found in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. The group believed that behind the Hale-Bopp comet was a spacecraft waiting to take them to a “higher plane of existence.” Under the leadership of Marshall Applewhite, they ate pudding or applesauce laced with toxic phenobarbital.

Reverend Jim Jones organized a suicide pact on a much larger scale in Jonestown, Guyana. On Nov. 18, 1978, more than 900 Jones followers killed themselves by drinking cyanide, Jones included.

Reference: Studying cults


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