Jury convicts two sisters, not demon

The Associated Press

DALLAS Myra Obasi said she was possessed by a demon when her eyeballs were gouged out of their sockets and left in a wastebasket.

A jury said Wednesday that the devil didn't do it her sisters did.

Doretha Crawford and Beverly Johnson, both of Arcadia, La., were convicted Wednesday of aggravated assault. A woman had testified she saw the sisters pummel and pray with an unresisting Obasi.

"Her eyes were very red," said Dorothy Hughes, a teacher who spotted them on her morning walk. "I just had not seen eyes like that before. They were blood red."

The convictions are punishable by two to 10 years in prison. Jurors resumed sentence deliberations today.

Crawford, 34, and Johnson, 35, told police they were fleeing demons, but don't remember how their sister lost her eyes.

Obasi, 30, testified that she couldn't remember how she was blinded, but doesn't believe her sisters were responsible.

"It's the truth," said the former second-grade teacher, who didn't want her sisters to be prosecuted.

Assistant District Attorney George West accused Obasi of changing her story to protect her sisters. He said Obasi told police her sisters gouged out her eyes to free her from the devil.

The sisters' terrible odyssey began March 17, when they left their pine-forested town of 3,000 people because they believed a devil was trying to kill them.

Their father, Chester Crawford, suggested they visit a man named Benny, described as a "voodoo" or "hoodoo" man. Hoodoo combines elements of voodoo, an African-rooted faith modified in Haiti, with Biblical verse and Catholicism.

Crawford said he thought Benny could ease family tension.

"Benny's supposed to be a spiritual man," Chester Crawford said. "I thought I was doing something to help my kids."

After Benny said the

family's problems were due to a demonic attack, Crawford told his daughters to flee. They did and took their five children.

During the two-day trip, the women afraid the devil had caught up with them left their children with strangers in Marshall, Texas, about 90 miles from home. The youngsters were eventually returned to the family.

The sisters then set out for a friend's house near Dallas. Suddenly,Obasi began trying to drive into traffic and off bridges, they said.

Her sisters calmed her down and they wound up in Waxahachie, about 30 miles south of Dallas, where police saw their stopped car. They told the officers there was a curse on the rental car. The jury was told the starter was bad.

The siblings then hitchhiked into Dallas, about 200 miles from where they started, where they were seen praying and begging for help.

Legayla Jones testified that she watched the sisters shout and pray for about seven hours across the street from her house before they pushed garlic into Obasi's eyes and paper down her throat.

Her eyes were removed by something sharp, possibly fingernails, doctors testified.

Obasi testified her sisters never had long fingernails, nor any sharp objects with them.

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