Heinous Crime Blamed on Attempted Exorcism

Exorcism gone wrong

On January 17th of 2014 the police were called to a home in Germantown, Maryland. When they arrived on the scene there was blood on the ground and a knife by an open car door, giving them probable cause to enter the home. What they found once they entered was an unforgettable scene of tragedy and horror. Zakieya L. Avery, 28, of Cherry Bend Drive was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder. Her accomplice, Monifa Denise Sanford, 21, was also charged on two counts of murder. Sanford had sustained various injuries and was hospitalized for a short period of time before being taken into custody but sadly in this case the victims were the four children of Zakieya Avery.

The fatalities were identified as Norell Harris, 1, and Zyana Harris, 2, whom were both brutally stabbed to death. The surviving siblings are Taniya Harris, 5, and Martello Harris, 8, which were both critically injured in their mother’s attempt to cleanse demonic spirits from their flesh. Avery and Sanford claimed that they were attempting an exorcism that lead to the slaughter of the children, stating that they believed the children had demonic entities dwelling within them. Investigators said that upon entering the home there wasn’t any signs of an exorcism going on. There was no Bible or printed scriptures in the home that would have been used and furthermore, there wasn’t a preacher or priest present either.

Sanford is believed to have been living at the same address but isn’t believed to be a member of the family. Neighbors and the preacher from their church all say that the children seemed normal to them and that the family appeared to be somewhat happy. However, a week prior to the crime one neighbor had seen a small child whom was left in the car alone so she had called the police. When the officers had arrived to investigate the situation, the two women had already taken the child in and refused to answer the door to speak with anyone. The police say that they had made a report with Child Protective Services but didn’t know if they had followed up on the report or not.

— On a side note, I have personally always considered the fact that demonic possessions may occur in the parents of these types of brutal slayings, not within the children themselves. There are many reports and cases in which a mother snaps and is known to have killed all of her children, usually having a large family of three or more children as well. It has crossed my mind as to whether or not the conditions of stress and struggle may have opened a dark gateway in the lives of the families allowing a dark entity to enter into the body of the murderers. I have also come to believe that spirits of various types may be able to do things through children, even though they may be innocent in nature. This can work both ways.

Generally speaking, there are a number of reasons or ways that a real possession may take place, which we will cover in an article in the near future, however, in this case it leads one to believe that an attempted exorcism by the two women may have been a cover story for their actions. Most exorcisms will in fact have a priest or preacher present and you cannot do an exorcism without knowing what to do or what to say during one. The women may claim to be ignorant on the topic  of exorcisms during their defense in court, but it will not excuse them from their monstrous actions, which is in fact punishable by death.

Until next time…


~William C. Raustler