Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Woman describes treatment in Aguanga torture trial

FRENCH VALLEY ---- The daughter of an Aguanga man on trial for torture told jurors Monday that her father would make her eat her own vomit and feces while also periodically hanging her upside down for hours as a form of punishment.

Mansa Musa Muhummed, 55, shook his head back and forth several times Monday while listening to the testimony of daughter Sharon Boddie, now 27, at Southwest Justice Center.

Muhummed is charged with seven counts of torture, 12 counts of child abuse, four counts of spousal abuse and two counts of false imprisonment. He faces seven life sentences should he be convicted as charged.

Born Richard Boddie, he later began using his Muslim name of Muhummed. He was arrested by Riverside County sheriff's deputies in April 1999 at a property on Sweepstakes Lane in Aguanga after one of his three wives ---- two of whom prosecutors say were locked in a partitioned garage ---- was able to sneak a letter to a post office clerk.

Between the three "wives," Muhummed has more than a dozen children.

As several siblings have also testified to earlier in the trial, Sharon Boddie described Monday how she was often forced to use a bucket as a toilet as well as how her father withheld food for days and would beat them all severely.

She told the jury about a time she sneaked into the bathroom and her father grabbed her so violently by the hair that a fist full of hair was pulled from her head, leaving a bald spot she still has.

Deputy District Attorney Julie Baldwin asked Sharon Boddie if she ever saw her father with any weapons in the home.

She said her father would wave a handgun ---- sometimes inches from her face ---- and say, "I can kill all of ya and nobody would ever know."

Sharon Boddie also testified to seeing her father with a machete.

"Once, he tried to chop my arm off," she said. As Boddie answered, Muhummed could be seen and heard snickering slightly.

Sharon Boddie then described how one sister held her head down, another held one arm and her father the other arm as he threatened to cut it off with the machete.

Baldwin asked her why he did it.

"Because my stomach hurt and I wouldn't eat my food," she said.

The prosecutor later asked Boddie why she didn't tell deputies about what was happening in the home when her father was arrested more than nine years ago.

"I didn't think my daddy was really going to jail," she answered. When the prosecutor asked her why that was, she responded, "Because he always got away with it."

About a year after her father's April 1999 arrest, Sharon Boddie gave authorities details of what was going on. Baldwin asked why it took her so long.

"I finally realized he was really going to be in jail and I was finally going to have a life," Boddie said.

Boddie told jurors she could not read or write at the age of 18 when her father was arrested.

Since then, Boddie said, she has received help from others and joined the Job Corps, where she gained new skills.

"Are you working today?" Baldwin asked.

For possibly the first time after several hours on the witness stand, Boddie smiled broadly. "Yes, I am," she said, adding that she got her first job at age 23.

Her father's defense attorney, Peter Morreale, attacked portions of Boddie's testimony, including her statements about being forced to eat her vomit and feces.

Morreale asked if she ever told authorities about that since her father's arrest.

Boddie said she couldn't remember.

The defense attorney then went after Boddie's testimony about being hung upside down by her father in the basements of three different homes. Morreale told the woman that at least one home in Desert Hot Springs doesn't have a basement.

Boddie then describes there being cars and says she was hung "from the wood in the garage, basement, whatever it is."

Morreale showed Boddie a report written by a sheriff's investigator who notes that Boddie told him she was hung upside down for as long as five days.

Boddie said she didn't remember saying days, but being hung for hours while not being allowed to eat for days.

Muhummed's trial is scheduled to continue Tuesday morning before Judge Paul Dickerson. Jurors have been told they will likely begin deliberating the case in early June.

Original Article-

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

No comments: