Cult leader denied new trial

Attleboro, USA - The state's highest court has denied a new trial for a former leader of a religious sect who was convicted of murder in the starvation death of his infant son.

Jacques Robidoux was one of the leaders of a small Attleboro cult known as The Body. He was charged with murder after his son, Samuel, died three days before his first birthday in April 1999.

Robidoux said he and his wife believed they were following a message from God when they began feeding Samuel only his mother's breast milk. Prosecutors said the boy starved over the next 51 days because his mother stopped producing enough milk to nourish him.

Jacques Robidoux appealed his conviction to the state Supreme Judicial Court, arguing he was mentally ill and under the brainwashing influence of the cult and his former lawyer should have used an insanity defense.

But the court ruled yesterday that it was Robidoux himself who rejected the insanity defense after consulting with the lawyer.