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Topic: DC judge convicts woman of killing 4 daughters (is this world lost its mind...)  (Read 1757 times)

kylahsmom

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WASHINGTON (AP) A judge found a District of Columbia woman guilty Wednesday of killing her four daughters and living with their mummified bodies for months in a case that brought scrutiny to the city's child welfare system.

Banita Jacks, 34, was convicted of four counts of felony murder, three counts of premeditated first-degree murder and four counts of first-degree child cruelty. She was acquitted of one count of premeditated first-degree murder in the death of her oldest daughter.

D.C. Superior Court Judge Frederick H. Weisberg decided the case himself after Jacks waived her right to a jury trial. Bench trials are rare in murder cases, said Benjamin Friedman, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington.

Before reading the verdict, Weisberg said the case was one of his most challenging in three decades as a judge.

"It was a very lonely assignment," he said. At the end of the hearing, he buried his face in his hands.

Jacks faces life in prison when she is sentenced Oct. 16.

U.S. Marshal deputies discovered the girls' decomposing bodies in January 2008 while carrying out an eviction at their mother's southeast Washington row house. The girls are believed to have been ages 5 to 16.

Jacks, who walked into the courtroom with a cane, looked at Weisberg as he read the verdict and at times shook her head, but did not show any visible emotion.

In a lengthy interview with police, she said her daughters were possessed by demons and inexplicably died one by one in their sleep. She believed they would be resurrected.

Weisberg said the extreme decomposition of the bodies provided strong evidence of Jacks' guilt but also made it difficult for experts to determine how the girls died. Experts confirmed Brittany was stabbed, but there was not enough evidence to prove who did it and if that was what killed her. That's why Jacks was acquitted on one of the premeditated first-degree murder charges.

But Weisberg said it was clear she contributed to Brittany's death by mistreating her. That's why he kept the felony murder charge, which indicated that Jacks caused her daughter's death while committing a felony, in this case child cruelty.
"I can only imagine the torture and torment Ms. Jacks inflicted on her ... must have really done damage to her psyche," he said.

Weisberg said evidence showed the other three girls were strangled. He said Jacks also starved them and denied them basic necessities.

It was unclear why Jacks killed the girls, but evidence indicated she was extremely depressed. Nathaniel Fogle, her boyfriend and father of the two youngest girls, died from cancer in February 2007. Following his death, Weisberg said Jacks lost her last emotional and financial support and became frustrated with her daughters' behavior.

It appeared that taking care of them placed "a huge burden on an increasingly stressed-out mother," Weisberg said.

Prosecutors said they were pleased with the verdict but noted it would not bring back the girls.

"There's no joy coming out of this courthouse," prosecutor Deborah Sines told reporters.

Peter Krauthamer, one of three public defenders representing Jacks, said they will appeal.

"It's not where we wanted to be," Krauthamer said.

The case prompted the city to review hundreds of child welfare cases and make changes to the agency.

Six social workers were fired last year for not adequately responding to a report of abuse at the home months before the children were found.

A school social worker raised concerns about the family in early 2007 after she visited and thought Jacks was holding the girls hostage. But an investigation was closed because child welfare officials thought the family had moved to Maryland.

Earlier this month, city officials unveiled legislation named for the girls that aims to improve how health and human services agencies share information with one another and coordinate services.



arms1977

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Even more yong victims of the system, what a shame. How on earth does this woman kill her babies and then live with their mummified bodies? She is one sick pup! Those social workers should have been fired! I guess they were too busy having lunches with potential foster parents to look in on kids in need! The story about the family moving to Maryland...where did that come from? I think it was a cover....how convenient.
This reminds me of a family that I knew growing up. My brother and I went to a babysitters. Her next door neighbor had 4 kids. They were always filthy and smelled awful. Many times our babysitter would bring them in and clean them up. We played with them a lot because they were always outside. My dad had to work late one night so we stayed late at the sitters. The dog had to go outside and to our amazement the kids were all 4 sitting on the porch. We immediatly brought them inside and called the police. What a joke! They did nothing. Come to find out, the kids were outside because the parents had ordered Dominos and had only gotten enough for 2. Needless to say those kids are all grown up now. The oldest son joined the military and got killed in Iraq. The oldest daughter is a heroine addict and a prostitute. The second daughter commited suicide. Last but not least, the youngest son is a drug dealer. What proud parents they must be...having 2 failures and 2 deceased! I really feel sorry for the kids. I see them (the living ones I mean) on occassion and help in any way I can, but they are too far gone for a lay person like myself to help much. I usually take them for a hot meal or something simple like that.
In cases like these social services should have steped in and taken those kids away. I did not realize at such a young age what was really going on next door. Now that I am grown with a child of my own I am thankful for having loving, "normal" parents that took very good care of me!

liljp617

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No, it hasn't lost its mind.  You'd probably find these stories in the 1600s if media were as prevalent as it is now.

misner411

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it is so sad to hear about crimes like this. unfortunately we have some very sicotic people in our world. some very ill people who cannot control their thoughts and actions. they can sometimes look and act like the most normal person in the world. thats what makes this world so scary. we never really know anyone or what their capable of. so never underestimate anyone.

sadie524

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That's so sad. It is really scary to think that these things can happen in our own backyards, so to speak. It also makes you wonder where people get these ideas and how they survive in society for years and are never noticed!

Dan1127

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That is the saddest article I have read.AND THE WORST THING IS THE EXTENDED FAMILY SUFFERS MORE THAN ANYTHING.    Rip children

PMZ908

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*bleep* happens

ddraper2009

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That is a horrible story! I have been a single mom for most of my children's lives, even when I was with their father's. I have been depressed, the postpartum thing as well as just in general when things were kind of rough financially. Never in my wildest dreams would I have resorted to anything like that. That woman needs to suffer a death similar to the one those children suffered.

deekeepinitreal2009

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That woman is freaking crazy. She deserves everything thing she gets

thanhkle2003

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In cases like this one, we see so many things that could have been different. The social service system has failed these children. We spend more and more money each year to have the system protect these children, but we continue to fail.
The mother may have been involved with drugs such as meth. In the many cases involving these types of drugs, we hear about demons and possessions. The length of time that it took the system to find the bodies disturb me greatly. How can there not be anyone that hadn't notice something.
I watched a recent show where a mother was found guilty for the death of her 5 year old. The mother stopped sending her daughter to school for quite some time and no one at the school came over to the home nor called CPS or other related agencies. What is the point of having these government agencies heavily funded by hard working citizens? Are we wasting our hard earn tax dollars? Should we focus on something different?

lher0277

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i despise hearing these stories, about parents killing there own young children, there is no reason for it no matter what they do, there kids, step out of the room, take a breath, ask for help, theres always another option, but no excuse to end a life that barely had time to live, these parents deserve everything that comes to them! >:(

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