Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cult member withdraws guilty plea in child's death

Last updated October 30, 2009 10:43 a.m. PT

Cult member withdraws guilty plea in child's death
By BEN NUCKOLS
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

BALTIMORE -- A former member of a defunct religious cult has backed out of a plea deal and will face trial on charges he and others starved a toddler to death.

Marcus Cobbs had agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge of accessory after the fact. But his attorney abruptly withdrew the plea Friday morning after a dispute with prosecutors over the conditions of his release.

Cobbs will now face trial along with three other members of the cult on murder and child abuse charges in the death of 1-year-old Javon Thompson.

According to a statement read in court, Cobbs helped the cult members cover up Javon's death by destroying evidence and stuffing the toddler's body in a suitcase.

Cobbs would have received a five-year suspended sentence under the plea deal.

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