Prosecutors in Maryland appear to have cut a bizarre deal with a former religious cult member. Ria Ramkissoon, 22, agreed to plead guilty in the murder of her 1-year-old son, Javon Thompson, but, if he is resurrected, the deal is off.
Ramkissoon was a member of 1 Mind Ministries. The cult stopped feeding the boy when he would not say “amen.” After Javon died, Ramkissoon prayed for his resurrection and, when that did not occur, they put the body a suitcase and filled it with mothballs and fabric softener sheets to mask the odor.
Baltimore Circuit Judge Timothy J. Doory assured Ramkissoon that the plea would indeed be withdrawn if the child is resurrected. Now, that is something that you do not see everyday.
The problem is obvious. You have a prosecutor, defense counsel, and a judge sealing a plea based on a perfectly insane condition by the defendant. It is hard to tell who is more legally incompetent in the courtroom, but clearly the defendant’s competency is seriously in question to agree to any deal.
If she testifies against her co-defendants, she will receive a suspended 20-year sentence and serve five years probation. A remarkably light sentence since the maximum sentence for child abuse resulting in death is 30 years — and defendants typically receive between 12 and 20 years.
I do not blame the defense counsel who secured a very good deal here. However, I have never seen a court and prosecutors secure a plea based on a clearly insane condition. It would be equivalent to securing a plea on the premise that the defendant would be relieved of any obligations if he becomes a omnipresent deity as he expects.
The problem is that the insanity defense has been reduced to a point that even the most deranged defendants are often found sane, here. Fortunately for Judge Doory, no one is likely to challenge the plea of the core players. However, the other defendants and their counsel should challenge the deal and could have a field day with a court that allowed pleas to be premised on mythical conditions. The Maryland Bar and Maryland Court systems may also want to look at this disturbing plea.