Lindsay Stephon, 35, allegedly murdered his 20-month-old daughter in March of 2013 in Etowah County, Alabama, and dumped her body in a wooded area notorious for being an illegal dump site. He has pleaded not guilty, because he was following orders from his god, Yahweh.
As to WMC News reports, Lindsay told police he did not want to kill his toddler daughter, Maliyah.
“I only did what he told me to do to her…he wanted me to get rid of her. Whoever did not have the family name had to die.”
Tasmine Thomas, mother of Maliyah, told the jury that Lindsay was never violent towards their daughter. She said they started dating when she was 17 and gave birth to Maliyah on June 16, 2011. Thomas, speaking at the capital trial of Lindsay, said he had a temper and preferred the word “father” rather than “dad.” Thomas said Lindsay practiced a religion where he referred to his god as “Yahweh” and made it clear that his god was not the same one as the Christian faith.
Thomas said she had her second child, Yahri, via C-section and needed time to recover from the complicated pregnancy. Lindsay’s sister, who had two children of her own, offered to help take care of Maliyah for a few days while Thomas recuperated. Lindsay offered to take Maliyah to his sister’s house — and that was the last time Thomas ever saw her.
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After a week had passed, Lindsay promised to pick Maliyah up and return her home. A trip that should have taken 30 minutes stretched into three hours. Thomas, asking a relative to drive her to get Maliyah, found out she never made it to Lindsay’s sister’s house. Thomas says she immediately placed a call to the police.
After a day, police found Lindsay holed up in a relative’s house. Police detective Wayne Hammonds said Lindsay told him, “I will tell you what you need to know, but you need to record this.” Apparently, Lindsay never left their home with Maliyah. He slaughtered her while his wife slept, using a hatchet, clamping down his hand on her mouth when she tried to scream. He cleaned up the blood with laundry detergent and bleach.
Lindsay’s confession interview with Hammonds lasted almost two hours, with him giving directions of how he dumped the body in an old duffel bag. Lindsay was taken to the scene of the crime where he helped police recover the weapons he had used to kill his toddler daughter.
Religious writings were also recovered from the scene. Lindsay admitted they were his writings, but that he did not need them anymore.
Even the defense lawyers are not disputing that their client is guilty. However, they argue that he was in poor mental health, a claim refuted by the prosecution, who believe the slaying was a sacrificial ritual. Lindsay has been jailed without bond. His defense attorneys have filed a motion that Lindsay’s criminal history not be a factor in the pending trial and also pushed against avoiding the death penalty. If convicted, Lindsay could spend life in prison without possibility of parole.
Thomas says that, even three years after Maliya’s death, she still does not know the full details of the child’s murder, according to WTVM out of Columbus, Georgia.
Etowah County Judge Billy Ogletree is hearing the case and has placed a gag order on all those involved in the case, including witnesses, attorneys on both sides, and even his own staff. The jury selection is expected to continue Tuesday.
[Image courtesy of: Etowah County Jail via WMCA]