Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Brothers testify about being starved, afraid in father's torture trial

An Aguanga father deprived his children of school, friends and toys and instead starved them for days, told them they would not go to heaven and locked them in a closet knowing one was terrified of the dark, two sons testified Monday.

During their father's trial on torture and abuse charges, brothers Christopher Boddie, 22, and Delmarcus Boddie, 32, described childhoods in which they had little contact with the outside world and a family life dominated by Mansa Muhummed's rules and punishments.

Delmarcus Boddie testified that his father, a Muslim, would not feed him for up to seven days. He said he stole food from the refrigerator at night while his father was asleep. When he got caught, Muhummed forced him to eat every piece of food he had stolen, Delmarcus Boddie testified.

He would eat until he got sick, then Muhummed would force him to consume what he regurgitated, Delmarcus Boddie testified.

Muhummed, 55, has pleaded not guilty to charges that include child abuse of 12 children, torture of seven children who were starved, spousal abuse and false imprisonment of two wives.

He was arrested in April 1999 at the home he shared with three wives and 19 children ranging in age from eight months to 25 years.

Muhummed faces seven life terms in prison if convicted of all charges.

Authorities arrested Muhummed at his home days after one of his wives sent a letter to county authorities detailing the abuse she and the children were suffering. Two of the wives were forced to live in the garage of the Aguanga home without regular access to bathrooms and little food, Laura Cowan has testified.

Defense attorney Pete Morreale asked Christopher Boddie why he never told police he had been abused after his father's arrest.

"I denied at first. I said he wasn't doing anything," Christopher Boddie said.

"You had the ability and the opportunity to say what you wanted to?" Morreale asked.

"Yes," Christopher Boddie replied.

Prosecutor Julie Baldwin asked him why he denied being abused.

"Because I love my dad. I didn't want to see him go to jail," Christopher Boddie said.

"But, you wanted to get out of the situation," she asked.

"Yes," he said.

Christopher Boddie testified that he was afraid of the dark. His father would exploit that fear when punishing him for breaking a rule or for running away from home when he was 10, he said.

"My dad threw us in closet and keep us there a day or a night," he said.

That happened frequently, he said.

After trying to run away from home, he was deprived of food and made to stay in a dark room with the door closed, Christopher Boddie testified.

"Was it known by your family that you were afraid of the dark?" Baldwin asked.

"Yes," he said.

Morreale asked if being deprived of food, beaten and locked in dark rooms was Muhummed's way of disciplining him for violating his rules. Christopher Boddie said it was.

The trial is scheduled to resume today at the Southwest Justice Center in French Valley.

Original Article -

REGIONAL: Woman describes treatment in Aguanga torture trial : North County Times - Californian

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