Monifa Sanford, 22, and Zakieya Avery, 29, were charged with stabbing Avery’s four young children in Avery’s Germantown home on Jan. 17. The pair allegedly thought the kids were possessed by evil spirits.
The pair allegedly took to calling themselves “demon assassins,” police said.
Avery's 18-month-old son and 2-year-old daughter died from the attack. Her 5-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son survived.
“She was in a delusional context when these allegations occurred,” David Felsen, Sanford’s attorney, told the court on Friday.
Prosecutors challenged the psychiatrist’s opinion, which could ultimately commit Sanford to a secure, forensic hospital rather than incarceration.
Prosecutors say Avery tried to break 18-month-old Norell’s neck and choked him. When she failed to kill him, she allegedly had Sanford get her a knife from the kitchen.
After killing the boy, they became convinced that evil spirits were jumping from child to child. They allegedly fatally stabbed 2-year-old Zyana and stabbed Taniya, 5, and Martello, 8, as well.
The pair was each charged with two counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder.
Avery has also received a psychological evaluation, but the results have not been made public.
In the state of Maryland, a successful insanity defense results in a finding of “not criminally responsible,” the Washington Post reported.
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