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Massachusetts Woman Sentenced To Life Without Parole For Ritualistic Murders Of Young Sons

Latarsha Sanders was convicted this week of the 2018 murders of her sons, 8-year-old Edson Brito and 5-year-old La'son Brito.

By Megan Carpentier
Massachusetts Woman Gets Life For Sons’ Ritualistic Murders

A Massachusetts woman will spend the rest of her life in prison without the possibility of parole after being convicted of murdering her two young sons in 2018. 

Latarsha L. Sanders, 48, was convicted on Tuesday of two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of her sons Edson "Marlon" Brito, 8, and La'son Brito, 5, as well as of one count of witness intimidation, according to CBS Boston affiliate WBZ. She received two concurrent life sentences without the possibility of parole for the murders, as well as 9-10 years on the witness intimidation charge.

Prosecutors said that Sanders stabbed the boys to death on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018 in the family's apartment in the Boston suburb of Brockton. The eight-year-old boy was stabbed 76 times, had 20 other cuts or scratches on him and a candle had been placed in his throat, while the five-year-old was stabbed 23 times in the back, chest and torso and had 80 other superficial wounds, Oxygen.com previous reported.

Latarsha Sanders

Sanders then cleaned the boys' bodies, wrapped them in blankets, placed them in their beds and cleaned up the blood from her crimes before running to the neighbor's, Plymouth County prosecutors noted in a statement after her conviction. Then, she ran to a neighbor's screaming and crying and had to be restrained by emergency medical personnel at the scene.

The neighbor told responding officers that Sanders had children at home. They discovered the boys' bodies in their beds and pronounced them dead at the scene.

In subsequent statements to prosecutors, Sanders initially claimed that her husband and 16-year-old daughter had committed the murders, according to the Boston Globe. She then allegedly explained to detectives that the murders were "voodoo stuff." She claimed she'd tried to perform a ritual when killing her elder son but failed at the ritual, which is why she also killed her younger child.

Actual practitioners of voodoo do not kill people as part of their religious rituals. The boys' father, Edson Brito, said at at 2018 vigil that he'd never known his ex-wife to practice voodoo, the Boston Herald reported at the time.

Her parents claimed that Sanders had severe mental health issues at the time of the murders. Her mother, Earline Sanders, told police at the time that Latarsha regularly spied on her neighbors and had become obsessed with the mythical Illuminati and the rituals they supposedly performed, the Boston Globe reported.

Earline Sanders also told police that her daughter had told her on the Friday before the murders that she'd come to hate her eldest son and had threatened to kill him and store his body in the freezer. She also said that Latarsha Sanders had spoken to her on Saturday about "sacrificing humans so she could move up in the world."

Prosecutors said in later court hearings that Latarsha Sanders wrote in a journal about setting up a GoFundMe in order to raise money from a "good story" and had set up a post office box before the murders in order to receive fan mail, Oxygen.com previously reported.

"The indication from the notebook is that she anticipated money coming in and set up the P.O. Box to receive fan mail,” Plymouth County District Attorney Jessica Kenny told the court in April 2018. “That may have been her mindset.”

She subsequently asked other family members — her other daughter, Shemea Sanders, was 27 at the time her brothers were murdered, according to the Herald — why they hadn't given media interviews about the murders and encouraged them to do so.

She is currently being held at the Massachusetts Correctional Institute - Framingham.

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