Voodoo hex blamed for murder - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Voodoo hex blamed for murder

March 7, 2003

Albany-- A Haitian migrant worker says murdering his friend was the only way to break a voodoo hex.

Nearly two years ago, 43-year-old Reynold Calixte shot Stephen Dameus several times then slit his throat. With the help of a Creole interpreter, Calixte told the Dougherty County court that voodoo spells were killing him and he had to kill to save his life. Now, he will spend the rest of his life in prison.

43-year-old Reynold Calixte had his day in court, telling Superior Court Judge Stephen Goss, through an interpreter, he knowingly killed migrant worker Stephen Dameus. His attorney, Willie Weaver, says Dameus believed he had no other choice, "He actually believed he had to kill people because they put a hex or a voodoo spell on him and based upon his believing that he had two choices, go and get a voodoo doctor to take off the spell or kill those he believed put the spell on him."

Calixte believed that black powder he found in his shoes, on his pillow, and on a bus seat was a magic spell--causing him to get very sick. Calixte was admitted to Phoebe Putney Hospital the day before the killings with a 110 degree temperature--but refused medical treatment. He left the hospital, went to the Townhouse Motel on West Ogelthorpe and fatally shot Dameus, as well as shooting two other migrant workers.

In court today, Calixte pled guilty but mentally ill to felony murder and two counts of aggravated assault. Prosecutor Greg Edwards says psychological evaluations showed signs of mental illness, "The defendant believing in voodoo is not a basis for determining he is mentally ill, but independent evidence showed mental illness."

Calixte held firm, however, to the fact he knowingly killed Dameus, and for that, he will serve a life sentence in prison. Judge Goss ordered that Calixte undergo another psychological evaluation before being transferred to prison. Concurrently with the life sentence, Calixte will serve 20 years for the aggravated assault charges.

Posted at 6:44 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com