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New Mexico judges weigh dangerousness of composite suspects

TAOS, N. M. – Judges in hearings Wednesday in state district court considering important decisions about the child neglect and abuse against the five suspects arrested at a remote location in northern New Mexico, where 11 children were found living in the dirt and the body of a 3-year-old boy was picked up.

A pair of confronting new accusations of child abuse that could carry life sentences in connection with the death of Abdul-ghani Wahhaj (ahb-DOOL’ GAH’-nee wah-HAJ”), a severely disabled boy, whose badly decomposed remains were found this month in a tunnel near the high-desert compound near the Colorado state line.

Prosecutors and law enforcement officials have accused the boy’s father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj (see DAHJ’ IBN wah-HAJ’), and partner Jany Leveille of denying the boy right medicine and health care, if he died during the rituals designed to cast out harmful spirits of the boy. They have not yet entered resources.

The boy initially was reported missing last year from Jonesboro, Georgia, by his mother after Siraj Ibn Wahhaj said he took the child in a park, and didn’t return. Forensic medical investigators have not disclosed the cause and manner of the boy’s death if they continue with their analysis.

A judge weighs whether one of the five suspects of the connection can be released pending his trial on child neglect charges without danger to the public. Officers of justice are on continuous imprisonment. They are planning to bring new evidence of an anti-government plot, and talk of jihad and martyrdom for some members of the extended Muslim family that is located on the compound of the previous winter.

The defendants have pleaded not guilty to neglect charges and are looking for the counts dismissed.

District court judge Sarah Backus has received criticism from politicians and anonymous death threats as a result of its decision in mid-August that would allow suspects to wait for the trial under the terms of house arrest with the ankle location monitors.

Prosecutors asks the state court district chief court to reconsider that order in light of new evidence and testimonies of children who lived in the compound. Among the evidence is a hand written document entitled “Phases of a Terrorist Attack” that is seized of the composition and contains vague instructions for “one-time terrorist,” and mentioned an unnamed place called “the ideal attack site.”

Prosecutors wrote that new interviews with some of the children taken from the site showed that one of the adults, Luke Morton, stated he wished to die in jihad as a martyr, and that defendants Jany Leveille and Subhannah Wahhaj joked about dying in the jihad.

Defense attorneys have noted that their customers have no record of criminal convictions and pose no risk to the public. Federal immigration authorities say Leveille, a native of Haiti, is in the United States illegally 20 years after overstaying a visitor visa.

All remain cooped up in a Taos County jail, the midst of difficulties in finding accommodation, to ensure that the suspects’ own safety.

New charges against Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and Leveille are tied to a comprehensive report of Abdul-ghani’s death in a magazine that the plaintiffs attribute Leveille.

Prosecutors say the boy died at the end of December 2017 as his heartbeat faded in and out during a religious ritual aimed at exorcising of demonic spirits.

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