Maryland woman pleads guilty in alleged exorcism deaths of 2 children

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ROCKVILLE, Maryland — One of two women charged with killing two children while performing what they thought was an exorcism has pleaded guilty in the case, but won't be serving prison time.

The Montgomery County State's Attorney's Office says 22-year-old Monifa Sanford of Germantown pleaded guilty Friday to two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder under a plea agreement.

Under the agreement, approved by Montgomery County Judge Cheryl McCally, Sanford was found not criminally responsible and will be committed to a psychiatric hospital.

Prosecutors say Sanford and Zakieya Avery, the mother of the two children killed, told investigators that they believed evil spirits moved successively between the bodies of the children, ages 1 and 2, and that an exorcism was needed to drive the demons out.

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