- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 6, 2002

TAUNTON, Mass. (AP) A religious sect member and his wife slowly, knowingly starved their infant son to death in 1999 as he cried horrifically, a prosecutor said yesterday as the man's murder trial opened.

Assistant District Attorney Walter Shea said Jacques Robidoux kept extensive notes of baby Samuel's drawn-out death, which the prosecutor said began after another sect member received a religious prophesy.

"By the end of day one, [Mr. Robidoux] writes that his wife, Karen, cannot bear what has happened because Samuel is crying so much," Mr. Shea said.

The boy died two months later, in April 1999, three days before his first birthday. His body was found buried alongside that of his newborn cousin in a remote state park in Maine.

Jacques Robidoux, 29, is charged with first-degree murder. His wife faces a separate trial on a charge of second-degree murder.

Defense attorney Francis O'Boy deferred his opening statement until after the prosecution presents its case.

Mr. Shea told the jury in his opening statement that the couple did nothing as Samuel went from being a healthy 10-month-old boy who had just taken his first step to an emaciated baby who could barely roll over.

"Day after day, week after week, in the face of the horrific crying, in the face of the radical weight loss, Jacques Robidoux and his wife, Karen, continued to do what they knew was killing their son," Mr. Shea said.

Mr. Shea said the baby was receiving only trace amounts of breast milk because Karen Robidoux had recently become pregnant with another child.

Michelle Robidoux Mingo, the baby's aunt, faces a separate trial on charges of being an accessory to assault and battery on a child. She is accused of suggesting the idea of withholding food from Samuel.

On Tuesday, Jacques Robidoux asked Judge Elizabeth Donovan if he could represent himself, saying he worried that his attorney might play into stereotypes. The judge rejected his request.


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