- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A District 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 D.C. Superior Court judge spent a second day Tuesday reviewing a recording of a police interrogation of Banita Jacks. The decomposing bodies of Miss Jacks’ daughters - ages 5 to 17 - were discovered in January 2008 when U.S. marshals arrived to evict her from her Southeast home.

Judge Frederick Weisberg was to decide whether to admit the interview as evidence in her trial. Miss Jacks’ attorneys want it excluded. They say police were trying to get a confession from her before they had evidence that she was responsible.

Judge Weisberg will decide the case without a jury at Miss Jacks’ request. Miss Jacks’ lawyers have urged her to use an insanity defense, but she has refused. Judge Weisberg has found her competent to stand trial.

In the videotaped interview, Miss Jacks said the girls stopped being her daughters and took on the identities of 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,” Miss Jacks says on the recording.

Miss 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.

Miss Jacks said the demons clung to her possessions, so she had to get rid of them to purge the demons from the house.

But Miss 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.

As the girls died, they finally became separated from the demons, she said.

Miss 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 Miss 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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