Teen Shooting Suspect Blames Demons

From: <CEvans1950@aol.com>
Date: Thu, 4 Jun 1998 21:09:13 EDT
Subject: Those Pesky Demons


It'd be interesting to find out if the precursor to this killer's belief in demons was a superstitious, fundamentalist childhood indoctrination including insistence upon a belief in literal demons. Considering the Bible Belt locale, I'd guess that this sort of demon-belief was part and parcel of his neighborhood belief-system if not his home environment. I would be willing to bet that most dangerous North American satanists, meaning those who literally believe in invisible demons and fear them, were first indoctrinated on their alleged powers and existence by well-intentioned Christians. How many times have I heard the cornered Christian essentially admit that their beliefs are fantasy and then ask "But what harm does it do to believe in invisible beings... even if they aren't real?" This sort of madness is the harm... not to mention the millions of human lives and billions of dollars worth of resources wasted in pursuit of imaginary goals.


Teen Shooting Suspect Blames Demons

© The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA, Miss. (AP) - A teen-ager accused of fatally stabbing his mother and gunning down two classmates testified Thursday that he was driven by demons who told him he would be "nothing" if he didn't kill.

A sobbing Luke Woodham, 17, said he remembered getting a butcher knife and seeing his mother's bloody body - all the while, his head ringing with instructions from his satanic mentor, fellow teen-ager Grant Boyette.

Investigators say the 19-year-old Boyette led a cultlike group of teen-agers who plotted to kill students at Pearl High School. Several members of the group, including Boyette, face conspiracy charges.

"I remember I woke up that morning and I'd seen demons that I always saw when Grant told me to do something," Woodham said. "They said I was nothing and I would never be anything if I didn't get to that school and kill those people."

Woodham is on trial in the slaying of his mother, Mary Woodham, who was found dead in her bedroom Oct. 1, the same day he is accused of killing two classmates and wounding seven others at his school. He will stand trial next week in the school shootings, the first in a string of similar rampages around the country.

Testimony ended late Thursday. Jurors will begin deliberations after closing statements are delivered first thing Friday morning.

Woodham's defense centered on claims he was not responsible for his actions because he suffers from mental illness and was under Boyette's control.

A defense medical expert testified that Woodham suffered from a variety of psychological problems.

"It's my opinion that as a result of the vulnerability of this very psychologically disturbed young man, Grant (Boyette) was able to exploit him," said Dr. Michael Jepsen, a forensic psychologist from Santa Fe, N.M.

Two prosecution experts testified that they believe Woodham was sane at the time of the killings.

Dr. Reb McMichael, psychiatrist at the state Hospital at Whitfield, where Woodham was examined, said he thinks Woodham may have some mental problems but wasn't insane when his mother died.

"He is not so wrong that I would consider him to have a major mental disorder," he said.

Breaking down in tears under aggressive questioning from prosecutors, Woodham said he recalled getting the knife and a pillow and walking to his mother's room. He said he could hear Boyette's voice in his head.

"I just closed my eyes and fought with myself because I didn't want to do any of it," he said. "When I opened my eyes, my mother was lying in her bed."

The teen-ager said he befriended Boyette in January 1997 after Boyette cast a spell from a satanic book. Woodham said he believed the spell led to a teen- ager being run over by a car and killed.

"We started a satanic group and through the hate I had in my heart, I used it to try and get vengeance on people and do what he told me to do," Woodham said.

He said Boyette assigned him demons to make sure he followed orders, but he didn't testify that Boyette specifically ordered his mother's death.

Boyette and Lucas Thompson, a 16-year-old authorities said was a member of the cult, appeared in court but declined to testify. Both said they had been advised to invoke their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.

The jury was read a statement by 18-year-old Donnie Brooks, another defendant charged with conspiracy.

The statement, described as a tool to speed the trial along, said Brooks would have testified that Boyette called himself the "master of high demon activity." Brooks also said Boyette "told us what to do and how to do it."

Woodham said he couldn't remember the actual killing: "I don't know, sir. I don't know and it's eating me up every day."

If convicted of killing his mother, Woodham could get life in prison. That is also the maximum he could get for the school shootings.

AP-NY-06-04-98 2050EDT

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