Plea deals made in Durham 'cult' murder case

L to r from top to bottom: Peter Moses, Vania Sisk, Sheila Moses, Sheilda Harris, Lavada Harris, Larhonda Smith and P. Leonard Moses
June 26, 2013 8:25:37 PM PDT
Three people charged in connection with a cult murder case in Durham have made plea deals with prosecutors.

Seven people were originally charged in the shooting deaths of 4-year-old Jadon Higganbothan and 28-year-old Antoinetta McKoy. Now, none of them will go to trial.

All of the accused are members of a so-called cult that lived in a Durham home and were under the rule of Peter Moses Jr.

On Wednesday, Moses' brother and two women once under his command entered plea deals.

Vania Sisk spoke softly in a Durham courtroom and admitted her role in the deaths of her son and McKoy.

An attorney for Lavada Harris spoke on behalf of his client.

"Ms. Harris has expressed deep remorse. She wanted to make sure she extended her apologies to the families," defense attorney Scott Holmes said. "She was a victim of Peter Moses on a number of occasions-- beaten and shot at and violated herself by him. So when directed to do things by him, she feared for her safety."

The ringleader's brother, P. Leonard Moses, was sentenced to 58-79 months in prison for murder and accessory after the fact.

Harris is charged with accessory after the fact in both murders. She was given consecutive sentences of 73-97 months for McKoy and another 73-97 months for Higganbothan. The murder and conspiracy to commit kidnapping charges were dropped as part of her plea deal.

Sisk will be formally sentenced Thursday along with ringleader Moses Jr. and LaRhonda Smith. Relatives of the victims will also be in town for their court appearances.

Meanwhile, the father of Jadon Higganbothan is also expected in the courtroom Thursday. Jamiel Higganbothan told ABC11 that he wouldn't miss the sentencing for those charged with murdering of his son for anything.

He said this has been an up and down roller coaster and a long two and a half years for his family.

"As long as I actually can get a fair piece of justice for my son and also Mrs. McKoy, then I'll be all right," said Higganbothan. "I don't think they should see the light of day if you want me to be truthful with you. I think that really everyone that was involved actually needs to spend the rest of their lives behind bars."  

Sentencing is scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m. inside the Durham County Courthouse.

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