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Maryland women indicted in 'exorcism' slayings of children

By Alice Popovici

ROCKVILLE, Maryland (Reuters) - Two Maryland women accused of killing two children they believed were possessed by demons were indicted on Thursday on multiple counts of murder, authorities said.

Zakieya Avery, 28, and Monifa Sanford, 21, were each indicted by a grand jury on two counts of first degree murder and two counts of attempted first degree murder, the State's Attorney for Montgomery County, Maryland, said in a statement.

Prosecutors have said that on January 17 the women strangled and stabbed to death Avery's 1-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter after believing they saw the children's eyes turn black, which they took to be a sign of demonic possession.

The women were accused of attempting to murder Avery's other children, a 5-year-old girl and 8-year old boy, by stabbing them. The children were found in a townhouse in Germantown, Maryland, where they lived with both women.

Trial dates have not been set.

(Reporting by Alice Popovici; Editing by Scott Malone, Toni Reinhold)

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