Attorney: Mom says voodoo spirits led her to pierce son’s skull with metal rod in Mississippi hotel room

Published 5:23 pm Friday, January 22, 2021

The attorney for a woman who reportedly killed her son in a Mississippi hotel room told a judge her client was reportedly guided by voodoo spirits when she pushed a metal rod through the young child’s skull.

The attorney for Latina Marie Oates, 33, of Columbus, Ohio, requested a mental evaluation for her client during a hearing in Jones County Circuit Court.

Defense attorney Jeannene Pacific revealed riveting details of what happened at the Hampton Inn in March 2020 as she made her case for having her client evaluated.

Oates is accused of killing 11-year-old son Josh by pushing a metal rod through his skull while his younger brothers Mark and Justin — then 9 and 6 — were in the room, according to the Laurel Leader-Call newspaper.

The boy’s body was discovered in the hotel room by a housekeeper after Oates and her sons left for New Orleans.

Pacific said Oates believed she was a voodoo priestess for Marie Laveau, who was infamous for practicing voodoo in New Orleans.  Pacific told the court that Oates said the spirits told her to kill the child in order to save the two other boys.

Investigators reportedly found something that looked like an altar in the hotel room. Oates reportedly told officers she had been practicing voodoo since she was 17.

Pacific said her client has a history of mental illness and has been on various medications. Pacific said family members in Ohio are willing to provide more medical records.

The prosecutor in the case did not argue against the motion for Oates’ mental exam. The doctor doing the evaluation is being hired by the defendant’s family, not appointed by the court.

Judge Dal Williamson noted that despite psychological problems, defendants can still know the difference in right and wrong.

The trial for Oates is set for April 16.