A woman accused of killing her four daughters told police in an interview that the girls were possessed by demons and that she got rid of most of the family’s possessions to contain the evil spirits.
A District of Columbia Superior Court judge spent a second day Tuesday reviewing a recording of a police interrogation of Banita Jacks. The decomposing bodies of Jacks’ daughters — ages 5 to 17 — were discovered in January 2008 when U.S. marshals came to evict her from her southeast Washington home.
Judge Frederick Weisberg was to decide whether to admit the interview as evidence in her trial. Jacks’ attorneys want it excluded. They say police were trying to get a confession from her before they had evidence that she was responsible.
Weisberg will decide the case without a jury at Jacks’ request.
Jacks’ lawyers have urged Jacks to use an insanity defense, but she has refused. Weisberg has found her competent to stand trial.
In the videotaped interview, Jacks said the girls stopped being her daughters and took on the identities of the demons.
“They got so bad,” she said.
She said her eldest daughter, Brittany, was possessed by a demon she called “Jezebel,” a prostitute who caused suffering and spread disease.
“With demon possession, you are a demon, period,” Jacks says on the recording.
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Jacks said Brittany would fight her and she had to fight back. She said her younger daughters made horrible “screeching” noises and caused other problems.
Authorities have said Brittany was stabbed to death, while the others were strangled.
Jacks said the demons clung to her possessions, so she had to get rid of them to purge the demons from the house.
But Jacks said she had nothing to do with the girls’ deaths. She told detectives that her daughters inexplicably died one by one in their sleep.
“It wasn’t me,” she said.
When police questioned her about blood they found in Brittany’s room, Jacks insisted there was none.
As each of the girls died, they finally became separated from the demons, she said.
Jacks spoke in a faint voice during the interview, at times rambling or pausing. At one point, when detectives asked what she would say if the medical examiner determined Brittany had died of stab wounds, she replied that she would rather consult a lawyer before answering. However, she continued to talk about other things.
Later, after the autopsy report came in, detectives asked Jacks why her account didn’t match the finding that the girls were killed. She repeated a phrase she used many times during the interview: “None of this makes any sense.”
“This whole story is wild,” she added.
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