MURRIETA, Calif. (AP) - A self-proclaimed polygamist was
sentenced Friday to seven consecutive life prison terms for
torturing some of his 19 children and falsely imprisoning two of
his three wives.
Mansa Musa Muhummed, 55, was also sentenced to additional terms
totaling 16 years and eight months by Riverside County Superior
Court Judge F. Paul Dickerson III.
"If his appeals are exhausted and he does not prevail, he will
die in prison," said Peter Morreale, Muhummed's attorney.
Several of Muhummed's now-grown children pleaded with the judge
to have mercy on their father, but others begged Dickerson to keep
him in prison forever.
"I'm still having nightmares and flashbacks," Marlon Boddie,
29, told the court. "He don't need no mercy. He don't need no type
of mercy. He knew what he was doing."
Muhummed told the court he accepted that he may have made
mistakes as a father but denied the children's allegations that he
starved them and made them suffer.
"They need to adjust their lives as they see fit and hope and
pray God has mercy on them," he said, prompting several of his
children to leave the courtroom.
Dickerson said he gave Muhummed consecutive life sentences to
send a message about the pain he caused, which amounted to "a
reign of terror over defenseless children."
Sharon Boddie, 28, who had told the court she was afraid her
father would retaliate if he was released, said later that he got
what he deserved.
"I hope the court never lets him get out of jail," she said.
On June 11, 2008, a jury convicted Muhummed of seven counts of
torture, two counts of false imprisonment and additional charges of
child endangerment and spousal abuse.
The jury had heard several of the children testify that they
were starved, beaten and strung up with electrical cord in the
basement of their home.
The jurors also watched Muhummed sob as he testified in his own
defense, denying that he beat his children's knuckles until they
bled, beat their feet until they were swollen and smash their toes
with a hammer.
Sentencing came nearly a decade after his arrest. His trial
followed nine years of delays in which he represented himself and
changed lawyers multiple times.
Earlier Friday, he sought to have his attorney removed and filed
a motion for a new trial, claiming he had new evidence to help
clear his name. Dickerson denied the motions, noting the case had
dragged on so long.
Muhummed was a convert to the Muslim faith, which he said gave
him the right to have multiple wives.
During the six-week trial, Muhummed's children testified that
they were denied food and forced to eat vomit and feces. Doctors
said the children were extremely malnourished. A 19-year-old
daughter was 4-foot-1 and weighed 56 pounds.
Muhummed - whose given name was Richard Boddie - was arrested in
1999 in a gated community about 100 miles southeast of Los Angeles
after one of his wives, Laura Cowan, slipped a letter to a postal
service worker describing the abuse.
Marva Barfield, another one of the wives, said Friday that she's
had to learn to cross the street on her own, receive mail and go to
the grocery store after living locked-up so many years.
Under a plea deal, Barfield pleaded guilty to one count of child
endangerment and testified against Muhummed. She will likely be
sentenced to time served, said Deputy District Attorney Julie
Baldwin, the prosecutor.
A son, Curtis Boddie, 26, said outside court that he only went
to school until fifth grade and his father beat him with a hose or
stick when he didn't wake up in time for morning prayers. He said
he weighed 42 pounds when he was 16.
Now, he said, he's trying to get his GED, is working part-time
in landscaping and hopes to be a photographer.
"Life was hard to me," he said. "I'm still trying to gain
back the 16 years in my life."
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