Durham, North Carolina – The leader of an anti-gay sect has pleaded guilty to murder for killing a 4-year-old boy because he thought the toddler was gay, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Peter Lucas Moses, 27, the leader of a polygamous group known as the “Black Hebrews,” has agreed to testify against his mother, brother, and sister in order to avoid the death penalty for himself. He faces two life sentences for the murders of Jadon Higganbothan, 4, and Antoinette Yvonne McKoy, 28, if convicted of the crimes.
WRAL-TV reports that members of the Black Separatist cult addressed Moses as “Lord,” and lived together in a house in Southeast Durham. In October 2010, because he believed he saw Higganbothan touch one of his sons “inapproriately” (the boy had allegedly spanked Moses’ son on the bottom), he ordered the boy’s mother to take him into the garage, where Moses shot the child in the head. The women in the group had arranged computer speakers in the garage to play the Lord’s Prayer in Hebrew loudly enough to drown out the sound of the gunshot. Two months later, when Moses found out that his consort McKoy could not have children and had decided to escape the cult, he shot her to death in a bathroom of the house. On June 8, 2011, investigators found the bodies of Higganbothan and McKoy buried in trash bags in the basement of another house belonging to the sect. Moses’ fingerprints were found on the tape used to secure the trash bags, and his handgun was proven to have been used in both murders.
The father of the little boy, Jamiel Higganbothan, told WRAL-TV News that he was furious the District Attorney had offered Moses a plea deal to save his life. “Me and my family wanted the death penalty,” Higganbothan said after the deal was announced. Moses’ brother, P. Leonard Moses, his sister, Sheila Moses, and his mother, Sheilda Harris, have been charged with accessories to the murder of Antoinetta McKoy. Jadon’s mother, Vania Sisk, and two other women who lived with Peter Moses, Larhonda Renee Smith and Lavada Quinzetta Harris, have been charged with murder in McKoy’s killing, and as accessories to the murder of the little boy.
The Black Hebrews, according to the SPLC, have roots going back to Black Separatist and Black Nationalist movements in the 19th century. They hold that they, not the Jews, are the true descendants of the Israelites in the Hebrew Bible. While most members of the modern movement in the United States are non-violent, a growing number of cells have become increasingly anti-Semitic, anti-gay, and prone to violence. They hold that modern Jews are imposters. These extremists also condemn whites for enslaving Blacks, and say that they are worthy of death or slavery because of it.
Durham, North Carolina – The leader of a religious group in Durham is being charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of 4-year-old Jadon Higganbothan, and of 27-year-old Antoinetta Yvonne McKoy by Durham County prosecutors. Higganbothan had last been seen alive in October 2010, and McKoy had been missing since December of the same year. WRAL.com reports that the remains of both victims were found last month buried behind a Durham home at 2622 Ashe Street. The remains might have gone undiscovered had a landlord not called a plumber to see what the overpowering smell emitting from the backyard of the house was. The plumbing crew called police when they uncovered the source of the odor, decoying human bodies. Peter Lucas Moses Jr., 27, the leader of a group calling themselves the “Black Hebrews,” allegedly shot the little boy because he saw him touch or slap the buttocks of another boy. According to testimony given in Durham County Court, Moses suspected that Higganbothan was gay because of his behavior, took the child into the basement of 2109 Pear Tree Lane in Durham, turned up loud music blaring the Lord’s Prayer in Hebrew, and shot him in the head. His remains were stuffed in a suitcase, and left on site until the smell became too strong, according to police sources. An informant told police investigators back in February of this year that both killings took place in the Pear Tree Lane house, where Moses lived with Vania Rae Sisk, 25, who is Jadon’s mother, Lavada Quinzetta Harris, 40, Larhonda Renee Smith, 40, and McKoy. The three surviving women have been indicted as accessories to murder after the fact in the slaying of young Jadon, and for murder in the killing of McKoy, as well. Besides the three women, who were considered common-law wives of Moses, Moses’ mother, Sheilda Evelyn Harris, 56, his brother, P. Leonard Moses, 21, and his sister, Sheila Falisha Moses, 20, have been indicted by Durham County prosecutors as accessories after the fact in McKoy’s murder, as well. The motive for McKoy’s murder proposed by prosecutors is that Moses eliminated her because she was “barren,” unable to become pregnant and bear children. The Black Hebrews believe they are directly descended from the ancient tribes of Israel. They teach that there is a coming great war between the races, and that Blacks will emerge triumphant by an act of God. Some members of the Moses family deny that they are members of the Black Hebrews, asserting only that they are “very religious.” The role McKoy may have played in the slaying of young Higganbothan and its aftermath remains unknown. A search of the Pear Tree Lane premises found a bullet, a shell casing, traces of human blood, and evidence of “overt cleaning” of the execution area.