Zakieya Latrice Avery & Monifa Sanford Charged with Murder in Deaths of Two Toddler, Norell Harris & Zyana Harris … Claims She was Performing Exorcism


28 year old Zakieya Latrice Avery and 21 year old Monifa Sanford have been charged with two counts of first degree murder in the death of two toddlers, Norell Harris and Zyana Harris. According to police, a mother killed two of her own children, while performing an exorcism in Germantown, Maryland. The two children, one year old Norell Harris and two year old Zyana Harris  were stabbed to death.

A Germantown mother and another woman accused of killing two toddlers and trying to kill two other children believed that they were releasing demonic spirits that had possessed the siblings, Montgomery County police said Saturday.

The two dead children — a boy, Norell Harris, 1, and a girl, Zyana Harris, 2 — were found Friday morning on their mother’s bed in a Germantown townhouse. Both had been stabbed repeatedly, police said. A sister, Taniya Harris, 5, and a brother, Martello Harris, 8, were seriously injured but are expected to survive.

Police said the women thought that they were performing an exorcism, although it did not appear they had followed any ritual.

“This was all about what was in their minds,” said Capt. Marcus Jones, commander of the county’s major crimes unit. “They felt like there was something bad going on with the children, and they were trying to release it.”

Police identified the women as Zakieya L. Avery, 28, the mother, and Monifa Sanford, 21, who lived with the family. Each has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder.

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