North Carolina

Cult leader gets life in prison for murder of 4-year-old he thought was gay

Peter Lucas Moses (left), and Jadon Higganbothan

Peter Lucas Moses (left), and Jadon Higganbothan

DURHAM, N.C. — The former leader of a polygamist cult in North Carolina has been sentenced to two life terms for the shooting deaths of a 4-year-old boy he believed to be gay and a woman who sought to leave.

Peter Lucas Moses was sentenced Friday after pleading guilty last year to shooting Jadon Higganbothan in the head because he believed the boy was an abomination.

Peter Lucas Moses (left), and Jadon Higganbothan

Prosecutors say Moses later ordered the death of 28-year-old Antoinetta McKoy when he learned she couldn’t have children.

Their bodies were found in 2011 by a plumber working at a Durham home previously shared members of the group called the Black Hebrews. Adherents and their children lived together, with Moses declaring several of the women as his wives.

Prosecutors had planned to seek the death penalty against Moses, but agreed to a sentence of life in prison without parole in exchange for his cooperation with investigators and testimony against other members of the sect.

The case dates to October 2010, when — according to prosecutors — Moses became concerned that Jadon had touched one of his sons inappropriately, and they said that he took Jadon to the garage and shot him.

Moses also allegedly ordered that McKoy be killed two months later when he learned she couldn’t have children and wanted to leave the group. Prosecutors said she was forced back inside the house as she tried to run away and was later killed in a bathroom.

Four others, including Jadon’s mother, Vania Rae Sisk, have also pleaded guilty in the killings.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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