The funerals are today in Sioux City for the two young sisters who were allegedly murdered by their stepfather during what police say was a Satanic ritual. The bodies of eight-year-old Alysha Suing and her ten-year-old sister, Kendra, were found Sunday in their burning home.
Self-described pagan Lawrence Harris is charged in the killings and reportedly told police a "spell went bad." Leslie McQuaid, of Omaha, is an expert on Wicca and says don’t blame the religion for the acts of one individual. McQuaid says, "It’s disappointing not only for the faith that he professed to practice but also very tragic that parenting skills have become so poor that people who are in need of assistance wait too long to get professional help."
Harris reportedly claimed he was trying to perform a protection spell, but police say he stabbed and strangled the girls, then set the fire to cover up his crimes. McQuaid says the suspect probably did not belong to a group because the acts he was performing are not highly-regarded in the Wiccan community.
"It is so far out of the norm that he was probably practicing alone simply because pagans and Wicca who understand their faith and have been trained in the faith would have rejected his practices as being outrageous, just as probably a Catholic community would reject someone without any training in the priesthood who decided to perform an exorcism," McQuaid says. She says this double-murder case is a huge blow to the Wiccan world because Harris could damage their reputation severely.
McQuaid says, "I’m extremely sad for the surviving members of his family that they had to undergo such a tragedy and for the pagan community that one who was so unstable claimed a faith that already has PR problems." The girls’ mother was not home at the time of the murders. Harris is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and is jailed in Sioux City under two-million dollars bond. The girls’ funerals are scheduled for 10:30 A.M. at Heartland Community Baptist Church.