A Massachusetts mother is accused of fatally stabbing her young sons dozens of times in what she called a voodoo ritual, with the apparent aim of getting strangers to send her fan mail and sympathy money.
Latarsha Sanders, 43, was arraigned on Tuesday for the murders, The Enterprise in Brockport reported. Prosecutors said Sanders admitted to murdering her sons Edson “Marlon” Brito, 8, and Lason Brito, 5, in early February.
Edson's body had been stabbed 76 times in his neck, chest and body, and he had more than 20 cuts and scratches on him, police said. Medical examiners found a candle in his throat.
Lason was stabbed 23 times in the back, chest and torso. He also had 80 superficial wounds.
Plymouth County District Attorney Jessica Kenny said in court that Sanders wrote in a journal before the murders about setting up a GoFundMe for her family members, with the money going to whoever had the "best story." She also got a P.O. Box to receive letters from fans.
“The indication from the notebook is that she anticipated money coming in and set up the P.O. box to receive fan mail,” Kenny said. “That may have been her mindset.”
The boys were discovered in different bedrooms of Sanders' apartment on February 4. Sanders was outside having an apparent seizure and was transported to the hospital after a neighbor called an ambulance. Police did a welfare check and discovered the bodies. She initially blamed the boys' father, but later said she did it as part of a voodoo ritual, the Boston Herald reported.
She told police she failed at performing the ritual on her 8-year-old so she did it to the younger son too. She also told police she "felt bad" about what she had done, and that she had mopped blood off of the floor and cleaned up both of the boys before placing them in separate beds.
Sanders was obsessed with a secret society called the Illuminati, as well as numerology and sacrifices.
In court, Kenny told the judge Sanders has been asking family members why they weren't giving interviews, and urging them to do it. She also said investigators reviewed Sanders' medical history and found no history of mental illness.
Sanders stood stonefaced as the details of the crimes were read, The Enterprise reported. She pleaded not guilty. About a dozen of her family members were in attendance but none of them spoke to the media.
The judge ordered Sanders be held without bail until another hearing on June 1.