By TAMMY J. McCOY
A 26-year-old man testified this morning that when growing up, his father would deprive him of food for spans lasting up to a week.
Michael Boddie, the son of defendant Mansa Musa Muhummed, estimated he was about 5 or 6 when his father began the practice of withholding food from him and his siblings.
His testimony came during the Aguanga man's trial on torture and abuse charges at the Southwest Justice Center in French Valley.
Muhummed has pleaded not guilty to charges that could result in a sentence of seven life terms in prison. The charges stem from the treatment of many of the 19 children who lived in the home and two of his three wives.
The 55 year old is charged with crimes including child abuse of 12 children, torturing seven children by depriving them of food, spousal abuse and false imprisonment of two wives.
When he was arrested in April 1999, the children ranged in age from 8 months to 25 years.
Boddie said his father would let him and his siblings, who total 16, go hungry after they moved from Virginia to Bakersfield.
Withholding food was one way Muhummed punished his children for not waking up on time, not saying their prayers on time and not doing their chores, Boddie said.
Muhummed also beat his children for the same reasons, he said.
"I probably got beat three of four times a day," Boddie testified.
His father would have children extend their arms, make a fist and hit them on the knuckles with a boat oar, Boddie said.
"He would hit us as many times as he could and if we made him miss we get hit like three more times," Boddie testified.
Sometimes, Muhummed would have the children lie on their stomach, put their feet in the air and hit the soles of their feet with the same boat oar, Boddie testified.
Riverside County sheriff's department began their investigation into Muhummed days after one of his wives, Laura Cowan, passed a 13-page letter to a postal clerk chronicling the alleged abuse and the family's living conditions, according to witness testimony. The letter was sent to the Department of Public Social Services then passed on to law enforcement.
Muhummed told one of his wives that his Muslim faith permitted having more than one spouse, according to court testimony.
Boddie's testimony resumes this afternoon.
Reach Tammy J. McCoy at 951-375-3729 or tmccoy@PE.com
Son testifies about beatings and being deprived of food in Aguanga man's torture and abuse trial Inland News PE.com Sou...