18 Dec 2010

Christian belief in demon possession leads to physical, spiritual and psychological abuse of children

Operation Black Vote - August 5, 2010

Churches challenge Channel 4 bias but condemn rogue pastors child abuse claims
By Davina Kirwan

Channel 4’s recent Dispatches programme, Britain’s Witch Children, [see Related Articles below] picked an ugly scab from a deep wound: it highlighted the regular but hidden extent of the faith-based abuse of children within ‘rogue’ elements of African churches.

The programme exposed a belief in witchcraft by some UK African churches, where pastors allege that congregation members are possessed by evil spirits and bring bad luck into the lives of others.

Traumatic exorcisms follow the accusations with pastors allegedly charging large sums of money to perform ‘deliverances’. The programme claimed that children are often denounced as witches, leading to physical and emotional abuse and even death at the hands of their families.

The Evangelical Alliance, Churches Together in England and the Churches’ Child Protection Advisory Services – all disappointed they were not approached to add context to the findings of the Dispatches investigation – promptly issued a joint response, which condemned “the abuse or encouraging the abuse of children, in particular, any church that brands children as witches or demon-possessed”.

Dr Joe Aldred, secretary of Minority Ethnic Christian Affairs, told OBV that he was not downplaying the problem that Dispatches had drawn attention to. He said:

“The vast majority of African churches in the UK do not subscribe to these practices. What angers me about the Dispatches programme is the way in which they – having highlighted a worthy problem that needs to be tackled – implied that this practice is representative of the 4000 African churches in the UK.”

Charity Africans Unite Against Child Abuse (Afruca) has called on the government to ban the branding of children as witches and is consulting on proposals for a new law. Afruca executive director, Debbie Ariyo, said:

“Our position at Afruca is always that culture and religion should never be a reason to abuse children. [Rogue pastors’] motives are monetary…the terrible consequences of their evil acts on children can no longer be ignored.”

“Branding a child as a witch is an incitement to harm and abuse children,” She continued. “It leads to physical and emotional abuse as well as neglect of the children in question. Of equal concern…are the abusive exorcism rites performed on children who are so branded by some pastors and other faith workers. These rites lead to extreme harm and suffering…and has caused the death of at least one child in the UK.” Concluded Ms Ariyo.

The belief in demon possession and the occult points to the prevalence of practices within the Christian religion on the whole; practices that are not just characteristics of ‘rogue’, African churches.

The Roman Catholic Church and the Vatican have a history of performing exorcisms. In March 2010, the Telegraph published an interview [see article below] with Father Gabriele Amorth, the Vatican’s chief exorcist, who stated:

“His Holiness believes wholeheartedly in the practice of exorcism. He has encouraged and praised our work.”

Last month, US publication, the Huffington Post interviewed Exorcist writer William Peter Blatty, he said:

“The research I’ve done convinces me there were 2 or 3 cases in the 20th Century in which the Catholic Church in the United States, after exhaustive investigation involving internal medicine and psychiatry, authorized the ritual of exorcism.”

Dr Aldred highlights that,

“most of the mainstream churches that one would not associate with spiritualism rightly or wrongly acknowledge the existence or presence of demonic forces. The Church of England has an exorcising priest in each diocese.”

While a belief in divine and spiritual forces is at the root of all religion, activists agree that key measures are needed to eliminate the mechanisms used by charlatans to abuse vulnerable members of religious congregations. Exploitation in this way can lead to abhorrent practices which survive along generations because of normalisations such as branding regular unruly teenage behaviour as ‘spirit-possession’ – initiating queues of children being sent to services for ‘deliverance’.

While not an advocate of laws in this area, Dr Aldred feels that a three-pronged approach is needed to protect children from faith-based abuse. He concluded:

“Firstly, every church and church agency should provide training in child protection matters. Second, every church should register with a bona fide ecumenical agency for accountability. And third, churches that operate in isolation should be strongly discouraged and any pastor found abusing children should face the full force of the law.”

This article was found at:



The Telgraph - U.K. March 11, 2010

Chief exorcist says Devil is in Vatican

The Devil is lurking in the very heart of the Roman Catholic Church, the Vatican's chief exorcist claimed on Wednesday.

By Nick Squires in Rome

Father Gabriele Amorth said people who are possessed by Satan vomit shards of glass and pieces of iron.

He added that the assault on Pope Benedict XVI on Christmas Eve by a mentally unstable woman and the sex abuse scandals which have engulfed the Church in the US, Ireland, Germany and other countries, were proof that the Anti-Christ was waging a war against the Holy See.

"The Devil resides in the Vatican and you can see the consequences," said Father Amorth, 85, who has been the Holy See's chief exorcist for 25 years.

"He can remain hidden, or speak in different languages, or even appear to be sympathetic. At times he makes fun of me. But I'm a man who is happy in his work."

While there was "resistance and mistrust" towards the concept of exorcism among some Catholics, Pope Benedict XVI has no such doubts, Father Amorth said. "His Holiness believes wholeheartedly in the practice of exorcism. He has encouraged and praised our work," he added.

The evil influence of Satan was evident in the highest ranks of the Catholic hierarchy, with "cardinals who do not believe in Jesus and bishops who are linked to the demon," Father Amorth said.

In a rare insight into the world of exorcism, the Italian priest told La Repubblica newspaper that the 1973 film The Exorcist gave a "substantially exact" impression of what it was like to be possessed by the Devil.

People possessed by evil sometimes had to be physically restrained by half a dozen people while they were exorcised. They would scream, utter blasphemies and spit out sharp objects, he said.

"From their mouths, anything can come out – pieces of iron as long as a finger, but also rose petals," said Father Amorth, who claims to have performed 70,000 exorcisms. "When the possessed dribble and slobber, and need cleaning up, I do that too. Seeing people vomit doesn't bother me. The exorcist has one principal duty - to free human beings from the fear of the Devil."

The attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II by a Turkish gunman in 1981 and recent revelations of "violence and paedophilia" committed by Catholic priests against children in their care was also the work of the Devil, said Father Amorth, who has written a book about his vocation, Memoirs of an Exorcist, which was published recently.

Father Amorth, who is the president of the Association of Exorcists and fought as a partisan during the war, has previously claimed that both Hitler and Stalin were possessed by the Devil.

In an interview with Vatican Radio in 2006, he said: "Of course the Devil exists and he can not only possess a single person but also groups and entire populations.

"I am convinced that the Nazis were all possessed. All you have to do is think about what Hitler and Stalin did."

He also condemned the Harry Potter books, saying they were dangerous because they dabbled in the occult and failed to draw a clear distinction between "the Satanic art" of black magic and benevolent white magic.

This article was found at:



Catholic Church downplays talk of the devil in public but maintains international network of exorcists

Ritual abuse of children accused of witchcraft in UK mostly unreported, authorities only alerted in extreme cases

UNICEF report documents tens of thousands of children abused and murdered as witches in East Africa

Vatican's exorcist says criticisms of pope prompted by devil, priests who molest & rape children are merely succumbing to worldly temptations

Hitchens says Pope responsible for obstructing justice & enabling the rape & torture of children, an apologist responds

Extremely abusive exorcisms of children branded as witches on the rise in the U.K.

Christian Extremism: Witchcraft, Murder and Child Abuse

Rapid growth of evangelical Christianity in Africa responsible for torture and murder of thousands of kids denounced as witches

Liberty Gospel Church members assault children's rights activists at meeting to end 'child-witch' atrocities

Witch hunt: Africa's hidden war on women

African Children Falsely Accused of Witchcraft

Persecuting the African child

Abuse of child 'witches' on rise, aid group says

Children are targets of Nigerian witch hunt

Widespread human rights violations are taking place on a daily basis against Nigeria's so called child "witches"

Protecting the Akwa Ibom Children of Nigeria From Ritual Abuse

Nigerian State Governor warns churches against labeling innocent children witches

'Child-witches' of Nigeria seek refuge

Saving Child Witches: A Nigerian Perspective

Child sacrifice and ritual murders rise in Uganda as famine looms

Uganda’s epidemic of child sacrifice

Uganda: Muslim women ask parliament to convene special session on child sacrifice, ritual murders

Spiralling acts of bloody child sacrifice in Uganda linked to West African prosperity cult

UGANDA: Church leaders want action on ritual killings of children
Angolan police rescue 29 children accused of witchcraft

Tanzania: 13-year-old albino boy killed for body parts sold for use in witchcraft

Pastor held for locking up 'child sorcerers'

Young girl murdered after being accused of witchcraft

Exorcism! Driving Out the Nonsense

Deliver us from evil: Exorcisms in demand

Texas Supreme Court Okays Exorcism
Family resolves to take fight over exorcism to Supreme Court

Mentally ill Saudi man chained in basement for 6 years by father who thinks he is possessed by genie


  1. Teen Girl Exorcism Squad: Three Arizona Girls Claim to Cast Out Demons

    By DAN HARRIS, JACKIE JESKO and JENNA MILLMAN, ABC Nightline April 5, 2012

    Brynne, Tess and Savannah from Phoenix are black belts in karate, expert horseback riders and avid musical theater fans. And they perform exorcisms.

    "We're just normal girls who do something extraordinary for God," Brynne said. "After seeing an actual exorcism in person, led by us, you will walk away with no doubt, whatsoever."

    Brynne, 17, is the leader of the pack, the one the others call the "enforcer." She is home-schooled and a regular on the beauty pageant circuit. Savannah, 20, is known as the "compassionate one," a college student who likes to shop. Finally, there's Tess, "the middle man" because the others say this 17-year-old can play both good and bad cop. She also performs in local musicals.

    "There is a war going on every day, being waged against us," Brynne said. "Satan hates us. We know how the enemy is, we know what he's attacking and we can fight back."

    Their teacher is Brynne's father, the Rev. Bob Larson, who says he has performed more than 10,000 exorcisms in the last 30 years.

    Before agreeing to perform an exorcism, Larson interviews his clients to determine whether they are, in his opinion, demonically possessed. The client must fill out a questionnaire and give some background on his or her personal history.

    But Larson claims that 50 percent of the population is probably affected by demons in some way and his girls are the front line of defense. Armed with crosses, Bibles and holy water, the girls summon the demon within the subject, and then the demon apparently takes over the person's body. Brynne said she can tell when someone is demonically possessed when she looks into his eyes.

    "When you look at that person, you could just see the evil looking back," she said.

    The girls say there are many different types of demons, each with their own names and personalities. One demon, Brynne said, is named Jezebel and is very proud and haughty.

    "There's Hate, Murder, Anger, all of those are very violent demons," she added.

    "When a demon comes into someone, it's going to bring as many of its kind with it as it possibly can because its desire is to steal, kill and destroy that person's identity, that person's life," Tess said.

    Classic signs of possession, the girls said, include when a possessed person starts speaking in tongues, reciting historical facts he wouldn't know otherwise, or having superhuman strength.

    Performing exorcisms can be dangerous work, and Larson's wife said she was reluctant to let their daughter, Brynne, do it. But Bob Larson believes it is a good lesson for her.

    "The Christian life is risky," he said. "Ministry is risky. Taking on the devil is risky. What's riskier? Saying no to God. Say no to God and the Devil's gonna get you."

    Larson said that sometimes the people who come to them to be exorcised are a little taken aback when they see how young the girls are.

    "It's like, 'They're going to exorcise me?' It's just totally out of the box. But a few minutes into it, when they see the boldness and the confidence, the maturity and the knowledge of these girls, that all fades away," he said.

    "We're not proud of ourselves," Tess said. "We're humble. We're still learning."

    Nonetheless, there are very serious questions about the safety and morality of what the girls are doing for others, especially those who might need mental health care.

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    One woman, a grandmother who flew in from Dallas for an exorcism with the girls, told "Nightline" that she has demons who have physically hurt and raped her. She insisted she is not mentally ill, but admitted she had been on anti-depressants and had suicidal thoughts in the past. During the exorcism, the woman said her father sexually abused her as a child.

    When asked if she thought the exorcisms could be making people with mental illness worse, Brynne disagreed.

    "We do this under Dad's supervision. We never do it alone," she said. "He's been doing it for 30 years. He would know if something was going wrong."

    However, Bob Larson has been accused of fraud and taking advantage of vulnerable people who are either desperate or prone to suggestion.

    The Rev. Darrell Motal of the "Soul & Spirit" Para Church, who believes in the existence of demons, told "Nightline" that Larson is too quick to blame someone's problems on demonic possession and that it's more likely that Larson's clients need mental health care and spiritual guidance.

    Father Edward Beck, a Roman Catholic priest, echoed Motal's comments and said he also believes that these young girls are "unqualified" and "unprepared" to perform exorcisms, and that it could be dangerous for them, as well as their clients.

    While Larson admitted that he was not a mental health expert, he said if a demon is "blocking the therapeutic help, the therapy's not going to go anywhere significantly."

    "Get the demon out, the impediment, and then the therapy can go forward," Larson said.

    What's more, Larson and the girls' exorcism sessions are not free, and he insists that one session almost never does the trick.

    "We have to fund what we do," he said.

    Larson is currently weighing several offers for new reality shows starring Brynne, Tess and Savannah.


  3. Voodoo witch doctor kills four children in exorcism ceremony

    Herald Sun AFP August 04, 2012

    FOUR children from the same family have been found dead in Haiti after being treated by a witch doctor who claimed to be able to cure them of a mysterious illness, a local official said Friday.

    "Three girls and a boy, the eldest of whom was seven years old and the youngest only 15 months, suffered abuse from the healer who was treating them," said Wilfrid Brisson, an official from the southern town of Marbial.

    "They were then abandoned in their mother's bed."

    According to neighbours, the sorcerer - who was assisted by his brother - persuaded the victims' mother that the children were possessed by a demon and said he could rid their soul of the devil.

    The witch doctor and his brother beat the children repeatedly, in steps they said were necessary to expel the demon, and the youngsters died from the blows, said Mr Brisson.

    The alleged killers have apparently fled to the capital Port-au-Prince. An investigation by authorities in Marbial is under way and the children's mother is in custody.

    About half of Haiti's population is believed to practice the voodoo religion in some form, though many are thought to also follow other religious beliefs at the same time. Sorcery and spiritual magic have been incorporated into some of the beliefs.

    Voodoo evolved out of the beliefs that slaves from West Africa brought with them to Haiti. It is now deeply rooted in Haitian culture.

    Western evangelical Christian movements, however, have also made inroads in Haiti.


  4. Three-year-old Malaysian girl killed in suspected exorcism ritual

    AP - The Indepenent August 7, 2012

    A three-year-old girl was killed in a suspected exorcism ritual by family members who believed she was possessed by evil spirits, Malaysian police said today.

    Officers raided a house in northern Penang state after receiving a distress call from a family member. They found a group of eight people lying on top of the girl in a bedroom, said district police chief Azman Abdul Lah.

    The girl was face down under the human pile, which comprised her parents, grandmother, uncle, aunt, two cousins and their Indonesian maid, he said.

    The room was dark and chanting could be heard from under a blanket covering the group, Mr Azman said.

    The girl died of suffocation, and all eight involved have been detained, he added.

    Belief in the supernatural has long been entrenched among Malaysia's main Malay, Chinese and Indian ethnic communities, though occult rituals have waned in recent decades.

    Deaths linked to such rituals are occasionally recorded. Two Malay cousins were sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2010 for killing the parents of one of them during a spiritual cleansing ritual that involved beating the couple with brooms and motorcycle helmets.


  5. Exorcism death fine insufficient

    The family of Chua Wan Xuen pleaded not guilty over charges of causing the three-year-old's death during a botched exorcism in Butterworth, Penang.

    New Straits Times August 05, 2013

    MALAYSIA - The RM55,000 (S$21,000) fine imposed on a family, who caused the death of a toddler in an exorcism ritual that went wrong almost a year ago, has been described as a slap on the wrist that does not commensurate with the gravity of the offence.

    Penang Bar Committee criminal law chairman Ranjit Singh Dhillon yesterday said the Butterworth Sessions Court's decision on Friday to fine the family was inadequate compared with the offence and that the prosecution should file an appeal against the sentence.

    He said the family members charged with causing death by a negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide should have been sentenced to a jail term as well.

    He said toddler Chua Wan Xuen's parents, who face a second charge of exposing their child in a manner likely to cause physical hurt, should face time behind bars.

    "Public interest demands it. It cannot be just a fine."

    Ranjit said exorcism was not a valid defence under any criminal jurisdiction in the world and that the only legal defence for the accused in the case was insanity.

    He added that the family pleaded guilty only after the prosecution had established a prima facie case against them.

    "Their plea is valueless as a mitigation factor.

    "The odds are stacked against them.

    "Everyone wants to plead for sympathy, but bleeding hearts can go only so far, considering what was done to the child, who was only 2 years and nine months old then."

    On Friday, the court fined Wan Xuen's parents, Chua Seng Ban and Lim She Lee, both 35; her uncle, Chua Seng Hoo, 29; aunt, Chua Ah Luan, 40; and grandmother, Ong Soh Guat, 67, RM10,000 each in default of five months' jail.

    Wan Xuen's cousin, Loke Xim Lin, 21, was fined RM5,000 in default of two months' jail.

    Another cousin, 16, was let off on a bond of good behaviour for two years for RM3,000 in one surety.

    The teen was ordered to report to the Welfare Department every month.

    The sentences were passed by judge Musyiri Peet after all seven pleaded guilty to the charges upon entering their defence.

    The seven, together with their Indonesian maid, who testified as a prosecution witness, were found pinning down Wan Xuen in their house in Bukit Tengah, near Bukit Mertajam, on Aug 5 last year between 7.50pm and 10.52pm.

    They were caught in the act by policemen, who had stormed into the house following a complaint made by one of Wan Xuen's uncles.

    During the trial, the court heard that a post-mortem had revealed that Wan Xuen had suffocated to death.


  6. Four on trial over week-long exorcism 'torture'

    The Local, France October 7, 2013

    A group of former members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church went on trial on Monday in France, charged with torturing a 19-year-old woman during a shockingly violent crucifixion-style exorcism which lasted seven days.

    Three men and a woman are accused of tying up the Cameroonian teenager in the position of Christ on the cross and keeping her bound to a mattress for seven days in the belief that her body had been possessed by the devil.

    The four, including the victim's former boyfriend, were charged with kidnapping, acts of torture and barbarism.

    When police discovered the woman at a housing estate in Grigny in the southern Paris suburbs, she was emaciated, dehydrated, in a state of shock and showed signs of having been beaten.

    The victim later testified that her captors had kept her alive by feeding her small amounts of oil and water.

    Her former boyfriend, Eric Deron, is accused of being the instigator of the assault and, according to prosecutors, had delusions of being a sort of prophet on a divine mission.

    According to statements made by the accused, the exorcism was organised after the victim allegedly leapt on Deron whilst babbling incomprehensibly, an attack he took as evidence she had been possessed by the devil.

    The four accused, who are all of French Caribbean origin, deny any acts of violence against the woman and say she had consented to the exorcism.

    Their lawyer, Jacques Bourdais, said the four had acted in good faith. "To them, she was possessed, that is why they did not call a doctor. You call a doctor when someone is sick, when someone is possessed you exorcise them," Bourdais told AFP.

    Antoinette met her alleged assailants three years before the 2011 attack through the Seventh Day Adventists, a US-based millennialist Protestant church which has millions of followers worldwide but only 13,000 in France.

    The church says the people involved in the case were all expelled a year before the alleged attack and has stressed that exorcism of this kind cannot be justified by any of its teachings.

    The trial is due to run until Friday.

    In September, The Local reported how terrified residents of Limoux, south-western France, alerted police of a possible murder in progress after hearing blood-curdling screams from a building in the Saint Antoine neighbourhood of the town.

    Police officers, arriving at the address in question, however, discovered it was the home of the Evangelical Assembly of the Deliverance.

    What greeted them was not a grisly murder scene, or a horrific episode of domestic violence, but rather the church’s pastor, locked in fierce battle with a “demon” which had possessed a member of the congregation.

    In March, The Local reported how an eight-year-old boy was left for dead in a hotel carpark, after his father and aunt attempted an exorcism on him, believing he had been possessed by evil spirits.

    “He was forced to hold out his arms and tilt his head back,” said one police officer. “While his aunt beat him with a bat, his father whipped him with a belt,” a police officer told France 3 television.


  7. Exorcism lands four in jail in France

    Nine MSN October 12, 2013

    A French court has sentenced four people to between three and six years in jail over a violent, crucifixion-style exorcism carried out on a 19-year-old woman.

    The three men and a woman, members of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, tied up the Cameroonian teenager in the position of Christ on the cross and kept her bound to a mattress for seven days in May 2011.

    When police discovered the woman at a housing estate in Grigny in the southern Paris suburbs, she was emaciated, dehydrated, in a state of shock and showed signs of having been beaten.

    The four, who are all of French Caribbean origin, insisted throughout the trial that the victim, named as Antoinette, had consented to the exorcism.

    The court on Friday found them guilty of kidnap, but dismissed charges of torture and barbarism, and the sentences were lower than the eight to 12 years that the prosecution had called for.

    Antoinette's former boyfriend, Eric Derond, was considered the instigator of the assault, and was given the longest sentence of six years.

    Reacting to the verdict, Antoinette, now 21, said she had hoped for tougher sentences against the four, who she called "dangerous people".

    Antoinette was 16 when she met her assailants through the Seventh Day Adventists, a US-based millennialist Protestant church which has millions of followers worldwide but only 13,000 in France.

    During the trial, she said she had been "brain-washed", becoming convinced that Derond was God. Her father told the court he believed she would have died within two days if police had not found her when they did.

    The church says the people involved in the case were all expelled a year before the attack and has stressed that exorcism of this kind cannot be justified by any of its teachings.


  8. El Reno child removed from home after deputies found him locked in small room, abused

    Parents reportedly believed child was possessed by demon

    KOKO.com Oklahoma City May 16, 2014

    EL RENO, Okla. —The Canadian County Sheriff's Office removed a child from a home in El Reno after they learned he was locked in a small room and abused.

    Edward Everett, 28, and Krystal D. Everette, 32, face child abuse and child neglect charges. Authorities went to their home on Thursday after they received a call that a 6-year-old was locked up in a small room because the child's parents believed he was demon-possessed. The caller told deputies that the child was in a room with no furniture. The caller also reported he was given very little food and forced to go to the bathroom in a bucket.

    According to a news release, deputies found the child in a room latched from the outside. Deputies said the child was only wearing underpants when he was found and had several bruises on his body, including two black eyes.

    Authorities said the parents told them the injuries were self-inflicted.

    "This is one of the worse (sic) cases of child abuse and neglect I've ever seen, and it will serve to reinforce my commitment to protecting the children of Canadian County," Canadian County Sheriff Randall Edwards said.

    Authorities learned the child was being fed one meal a day and was tormented and beaten with a leather belt and buckle. The child told authorities that he was also shocked and burned with a working cattle-prod that they found in the residence. The child told authorities he was using a plastic apple juice container to go to the bathroom.

    Both Everetts were booked into the Canadian County Jail. Edward faces charges of child abuse and child neglect, while Krystal faces charges of enabling child abuse.



    BY NICOLE ROJAS, Newsweek January 15, 2019

    A Texas inmate on death row for the murder of a 13-month-old in an exorcism gone wrong was granted a last-minute stay of execution on Monday.

    Blaine Milam was set to die on Tuesday and would have been the state’s first execution of 2019. The 29-year-old’s execution was halted over a bite mark that was used as evidence to convict him and the possibility that an intellectual disability may prevent the state from executing him, the Houston Chronicle reported.

    “We are grateful that the Court of Criminal Appeals stayed Mr. Milam’s execution today to he may prove that his conviction is invalid,” his defense attorney Jennae Swiergula said.

    Milam was convicted in the death of 13-month-old Amora Carson and sentenced to death on June 6, 2010. The infant died in December 2008 during an alleged exorcism Milam performed at his home with the girl’s mother and his then-girlfriend Jessica Carson, WBTV reported.

    The couple reportedly took interest in a Ouija board and Carson, who may have been suffering from postpartum psychosis, allegedly believed Milam was possessed by the devil. The couple later decided that Amora was possessed.

    Court records said that on December 2, 2008, the two beat the baby with a hammer, bit her and sexually assaulted her during an “exorcism.” When that reportedly failed, the couple went to a pawn shop in order to raise money to hire a priest, the Houston Chronicle reported. The girl died while they were away.

    Milam called 911 and initially told investigators that he did not know how the girl died. “My daughter, I just found her dead,” he said.

    Carson later confessed to the Texas Rangers that the girl had died during the couple’s exorcism. Milam also confessed to the death while in jail.

    “I did it,” he reportedly told a jail nurse. “But Ms. Shirley, the Blaine you know did not do this.”

    Milam’s defense lawyer argued during his trial that Carson had actually killed her daughter in the middle of major delusions. Milam was found guilty under the law of the parties and sentenced to death, while Carson was sentenced to life without parole.

    In his appeal, Milam’s lawyer pushed back against the state’s use of bite mark testimony and claimed his client was intellectually disable and therefore could not be executed.

    “Because of recent changes in the science pertaining to bite mark comparisons and recent changes in the law pertaining to the issue of intellectual disability…we therefore stay his execution and remand these claims to the trial court for a review of the merits of these claims,” the stay order said, according to The Texas Tribune.