Saturday, May 17, 2008

Oldest daughter testifies of feeding father while having food withheld

The Press-Enterprise

The oldest daughter of an Aguanga man testified Tuesday she was the only child tasked with feeding her father every day while she and her siblings were deprived of food.

"He said he was too good to feed himself so I had to feed him," Likesha Boddie, 34, testified during Mansa Musa Muhummed's trial.

Muhummed made his eldest daughter feed him three meals each day while she and 18 other children were often denied food as punishment for failing to follow one of his rules, she said.

Several of Muhummed's children have testified to going a week without food while Boddie said she went no more than two days without eating.

Muhummed, 55, is on trial at the Southwest Justice Center charged with torturing seven children, abusing and falsely imprisoning two wives, and abusing 12 children. If convicted he could be sentenced to seven life terms in prison.

Boddie said she feared her father too much to run away despite the physical abuse she said she suffered.

From the age of 6, she said, her father trained her to protect him and not reveal to anyone what was going on in their family.

If the truth were exposed, she testified, the consequences would be fatal.

"He said he would wait till we all went to sleep and he would chain all the doors, board the windows up and burn the house down and kill himself," Boddie said.

Authorities arrested Muhummed in April 1999 at his Aguanga home after one of his wives, Laura Cowan, wrote a letter to county authorities reporting that she was being kept in a garage and the family being abused. Muhummed, a Muslim, his three wives and 19 children were found all living in one home, and two of his wives were found living in the garage with their children.

On cross-examination, defense attorney Pete Morreale asked Boddie why she visited her father in jail and wrote him letters months after his arrest.

In a letter dated December 1999, she wrote that she hoped authorities would let her father go and realize that Cowan lied about children being abused.

Boddie explained that, at the time, she believed Cowan was making up stories about her father.

"I didn't think at the time he had done anything wrong," Boddie said.

"You were there and you knew what was happening," Morreale said.

At that time, she said, she still didn't think her father had done anything wrong.

The 34-year-old later testified that for the first two years her father was in jail, he called her on her cell phone daily and continued to tell her what to do, what to eat, what to buy, and how to get money from his Muslim brothers for a lawyer.

Muhummed even made her feel guilty for eating a bag of potato chips while he was in jail and could not consume such things, Boddie said.

Morreale asked her how her father could be on the phone with her all day long while he was in jail.

Muhummed would call a Muslim sister who patched the call through to her cell phone, Boddie said.

During one visit to the jail, she did not wear a veil as her father had compelled her to do for several years. Muhummed responded by calling her a whore, she testified.

As she testified, Muhummed, who was sitting at the counsel table, said: "Oh, stop with the lying."

The trial resumes today at the courthouse in French Valley.

Reach Tammy J. McCoy at 951-375-3729 or

Original Article -

Oldest daughter testifies of feeding father while having food withheld Inland News Southern California News Ne...

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