Banita Jacks Let Daughters Smoke Pot: Witness

Medical examiner: Decomposition makes it difficult to determine cause of death

WASHINGTON -- A witness in the trial of a woman accused of killing her four daughters said the woman and her boyfriend allowed two of the young girls to smoke marijuana.

LaShawn Ragland, a friend of Banita Jacks' boyfriend Nathaniel Fogle Jr., testified in Jacks' murder trial on Monday. Ragland told prosecutors that she observed Jacks and Fogle laughing as the two youngest girls, N'Kiah and Aja, smoked marijuana.

The girls were 4 and 3 years old at the time, Ragland said. Fogle, who died in 2007, was their father.

U.S. Marshals serving an eviction in Jacks' southeast D.C. home discovered the four girls' decomposing bodies in January 2008.

Jacks has pleaded not guilty to charges of premeditated first-degree murder.

On Monday, a D.C. medical examiner said he was only about 50 percent sure that the oldest daughter's death was a homicide because her body was so badly decomposed, the Washington Post reported. He said it wasn't clear whether three apparent stab wounds were enough to kill her.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us