In 1986, nine murder victims in Miami-Dade County, Florida, were found with their ears severed. While local authorities initially believed the gruesome acts could be the work of a serial killer, an arrest in connection with an unrelated double-homicide led police to suspect the slayings were tied to the religious sect Nation of Yahweh.
On October 30, 1986, cult member Robert Rozier Jr. was arrested following the shooting deaths of two men at an apartment complex in Opa-locka, Florida, which had recently been purchased and taken over by The Nation of Yahweh and its founder, Yahweh ben Yahweh. Police located the two firearms used in the shooting and discovered one had been stolen from a recent ear dismemberment victim. Rozier’s fingerprints were also a match to those on the victim's car.
In custody, Rozier, a former star football player for The University of California at Berkeley, broke down and revealed that he was a “Death Angel,” an enforcer for The Nation of Yahweh responsible for keeping “the flock” in line. According to Rozier, his duties varied from driving the cult’s bus to executing murders, including multiple ear cases.
Speaking with “Uncovered: The Cult of Yahweh ben Yahweh,” premiering Sunday, March 10 at 7/6c on Oxygen, retired FBI Special Agent Jim Bernazzani explains the disturbing ritual members had to perform to become Death Angels: “In order to get into his inner circle, [Yahweh said] ‘Bring me the ears of the white devil.’”
Born Hulon Mitchell Jr., Yahweh “wanted white devils killed in retribution or revenge for any black person that was being murdered out in the community,” says Daniel Borrego, a former Miami-Dade homicide detective, to “Uncovered.” Rozier claimed that Yahweh had ordered the killings and dismemberments, but Yahweh and his followers insisted he acted alone.
During a television appearance after Rozier’s arrest, Yahweh told reporters, “I do not approve of murder. I’m against murder, and I’m against the wantful taking of life by anyone.”
Rozier admitted to committing seven murders, and he pleaded guilty to four of them in exchange for testifying against Yahweh. At court, Rozier said six of the murders were carried out on Yahweh’s orders while the other was a panhandler who annoyed him. "I ended up killing him and throwing him in the water," said Rozier, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Ultimately, Rozier was sentenced to 22 years in prison, reported The Times.
At his federal trial, Yahweh was found guilty in connection with the plotting of 14 murders, two attempted murders and a community firebombing and sentenced to 18 years behind bars for conspiracy to commit murder, reported The New York Times.
Yahweh was later acquitted of first-degree murder charges for one of the “ear killings.”
To find out more about The Nation of Yahweh murders and its leader’s fall from grace, watch “Uncovered: The Cult of Yahweh ben Yahweh” on Oxygen.
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