Durham woman to enter plea in 2011 deaths

kpoe@newsobserver.comFebruary 17, 2013 

— A woman accused of playing a role in the murders of a woman and a child who police say were members of a black supremacist cult will enter a plea agreement at 10 a.m. Monday, according to her attorney.

LaRhonda Renee Smith, 28, will be entering a guilty plea on charges stemming from the deaths of Antoinetta Yvonne McKoy, 28, and Jadon Higganbothan, 5, attorney Lisa Williams said. The victims’ bodies were found at 2622 Ashe St. in Durham in June 2011.

Smith was associated with a small religious cult led by Pete Moses Jr., who pleaded guilty to both murders in June 2012. Moses was affiliated with the Black Hebrews, a religious sect whose members believe a race war will culminate in blacks’ dominance, according to police. Smith was one of seven people originally charged with the murders.

Smith is in Durham County Jail charged with murder, accessory after the fact, conspiracy to commit murder, first-degree kidnapping and injury to real property, according to jail records.

If a judge approves the plea agreement, Smith will face a minimum 25-year sentence, Williams said. Smith contributed information as part of a cooperation agreement, Williams said.

“She’ll be approaching 50 when she’s close to being able to come out, and under the facts, that’s a good deal for her,” Smith said.

Earlier reports listed Smith’s age as 40, but jail records and Smith’s attorney say she is 28.

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