A woman who starved her 1-year-old son to death at the behest of a religious cult leader was given an 18-month jail sentence and five years' probation. Because of time served since her arrest, 23-year-old Ria Ramkissoon walked out of the courtroom a free woman. Ramkissoon pleaded guilty last year to child abuse resulting in the death of baby Javon Thompson.
At the time of Javon's death, Ramkissoon was living with a small religious cult led by a woman who calls herself Queen Antoinette. She told Ramkissoon that the child had "a spirit of rebellion" inside him and that denying him nourishment would cure him. Ramkissoon then denied food and water to the 16-month-old child whenever he did not say "Amen" before a meal. Javon wasted away over the course of a week before his heart stopped beating.
After Javon died in late 2006 or early 2007, Antoinette told her followers to pray for his resurrection, and Ramkissoon spent weeks with her son's body. Ramkissoon testified in court that she still believes her son will be resurrected, and her plea deal contained an extraordinary provision: If Javon comes back to life, the plea will be withdrawn.