“Exorcism killer” found not criminally responsible

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Zakieya Avery

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ROCKVILLE, MD — A judge found a Germantown, Md. woman, who pled guilty to murdering two of her children and attempting to murder her two others, not criminally responsible of the crimes and has been committed to a mental institution.

Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Terrence McGann said he reached the decision because Zakieya Avery, 31, suffered from bipolar and borderline personality disorders and was not acting rationally in the early hours of January 17, 2014.

He said Avery will remain in a mental institution for an indeterminate amount of time.

“It’s a bittersweet victory, because it’s not going to bring the children back, but at the same time, I can speak for everyone and say we’re very happy with the outcome,” said Avery’s cousin Kaliha Brooks. She added the two surviving children are now with their father.

Had she been found criminally responsible, Avery faced up to four life sentences.

Judge McGann pointed to Avery’s history of mental illness and journals where she wrote about being a “demon assassin” among the reasons he ruled not criminally responsible.

“His decision was well-reasoned and as officers of the court we accept the opinion of Judge McGann,” said Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy.

Both McCarthy and Judge McGann stated they do not support Avery ever being granted release from the mental institution.

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