Woman Charged With Stabbing Children in ‘Exorcism' Enters Guilty Plea

Monifa Sanford will be committed to a psychiatric hospital.

One of the two women charged in the stabbing death of two young children during an "exorcism" entered a guilty plea Friday.

The court found Monifa Sanford not criminally responsible for the murders. She will be committed to a psychiatric hospital, News4's Kristin Wright reported.

Prosecutors say Sanford and Zakieya Avery killed Avery's 1-year-old and 2-year-old children on Jan. 17, 2014, in a Germantown townhouse in what police called an attempt at an exorcism.

According to the state's evidence, in the year leading up to the attack, Sanford moved into Avery's home and the two women became increasingly obsessed with demons.

At one point, prosecutors say, Avery told Sanford that she had an eczema demon and had her stop taking her medication. 

The night before the attack, Avery and Sanford put Avery's children in a car outside their home while they prepared an exorcism for their imagined boyfriends. A neighbor later called police after noticing the children and having a strange encounter with Avery, the documents continue.

Officers who responded to the scene could not get anyone to answer and contacted Child Protective Services.

A few hours later, Avery and Sanford believed evil spirits were jumping between the bodies of the children and that they needed to perform an exorcism to drive the demons out, said Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy last year.

When being questioned by police, the women told investigators that they tried multiple methods to remove the presence of demons from the children, progressing from attempting to break the neck of the youngest child, to strangulation, to stabbing.

The duo was also charged with wounding Avery's older children, a 5-year-old girl and an 8-year-old boy.

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