Lawyer: Client given cult literature

Athens, USA - A Clarke County sheriff's deputy distributed black supremacist cult literature even as a Clarke County grand jury and the sheriff's office investigated alleged cult activity at the county jail, according to a defense attorney who represents a prisoner at the jail.

Deputies affiliated with the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors sect have used "every opportunity" to try to indoctrinate his client and other prisoners, said defense lawyer Dean Clark, adding that a deputy gave one of his clients at the jail a book written by cult leader Dwight "Malachi" York as recently as two weeks ago.

Clark's client is Bobby Leon Martin, one of three people awaiting trial for the Jan. 4 shooting death of Kentora Thomas in East Athens.

"The last time I saw Bobby at the jail he gave me the book (the deputy) gave him," Clark said. "He told me previously how (deputies) will talk to inmates every chance they get about how great the Nuwaubians are and give them books."

Sheriff Ira Edwards did not respond to questions e-mailed Thursday to his spokesman, interim Chief Deputy Sheriff Jack Mitchell, about whether the distribution of the Nuwaubian literature violated policy and if the deputy involved faced discipline.

Clark said his client didn't buy into Nuwaubian teachings. He said after Martin spoke to a sheriff's official about alleged cult activity at the jail, a Nuwaubian deputy "basically told him, 'You're playing with fire, and you shouldn't be disrespecting us by talking to these investigators.' "

In the book the deputy allegedly gave Martin, "Who Rolled the Stone?" York asserts that Jesus did not die from crucifixion but lived to be 102, and that it was actually Judas who was entombed and later removed to be hung from a tree to make it look like suicide.

In the book, Jesus, the Disciples and other key figures in the New Testament are portrayed as being black.

Speaking on attempts to kill the newborn Jesus and the Crucifixion, York compared Jesus to the leader of the Branch Davidian sect, which had 76 members killed in 1993 after a 51-day stand-off with federal law enforcement officials.

"Anyone who thinks that they are the Messiah or Christ, they are killed," York wrote. "Like David Koresh, as soon as he claimed to be Christ the government came down on him and bombed his whole community in Waco, Texas."

Before his arrest in 2002, York lived with hundreds of followers in his own 476-acre community in Eatonton called "Tama-Re."

The April term of the Clarke County grand jury issued a report calling for an independent body to investigate Nuwaubian recruitment activities at the jail. One of the deputies remained touch with the sect's leader, York, a convicted felon serving a 135-year federal prison sentence.

Edwards responded, saying his office already was investigating whether Nuwaubian deputies acted inappropriately. He also said in a separate statement he told grand jurors about the need to protect deputies' rights, including the freedoms of speech and association, and that based on the facts initially brought to his attention, the Nuwaubian deputies were not engaging in prohibited activities.

Edwards disputed the grand jury's claim that an independent investigation of his office was needed.

The internal affairs investigation began in March after then-jail commander Brett Hart was notified by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons that a letter from a Clarke deputy to York was intercepted at a federal maximum security prison in Colorado, where York is serving a 135-year sentence on child molestation, racketeering and other convictions. Hart has said deputies corresponding with a convicted felon was a violation of jail policy and possibly criminal.

Hart was fired in April, and he contends in a complaint filed last month with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission that he was let go in part because he was looking into deputies' involvement with the Nuwaubians.