Sep 18, 2018

Man enters plea in Gwinnett baby starving death — but still disputes case

Joshua Sharpe
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
September 18, 2018

Rather than face trial, a purported Nuwaubian cult member made a plea deal and accepted a life sentence for the 2014 starving death of his 15-month-old daughter.

Calvin Mcintosh, 48, who authorities have said is tied to the Nuwaubian Nation of Moors, entered Alford pleas to felony murder and three counts of cruelty to children. The Alford plea allows a defendant to accept punishment for crimes while still maintaining their innocence.

Judge Melodie Conner sentenced Mcintosh to life in prison, with the chance of parole, plus 30 years of probation. “Life” is 30 years in Georgia, meaning that he can seek parole after serving that time.

Charges of starving and false imprisonment of the baby’s mother, Iasia Sweeting, were dropped as part of the plea agreement. Prosecutor Rich Vandever said Sweeting agreed to the terms.

“We had solid evidence to prove those counts,” Vandever told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution of the charges related to Sweeting. She weighed only 59 pounds at age 21 when she was rescued from a Gwinnett County hotel in Peachtree Corners.

Sweeting’s family has said she was abducted by Mcintosh in 2010 in DeKalb County though he wasn’t charged, and Mcintosh’s attorney disputes the claim. Sweeting, a former DeKalb School of the Arts student who couldn’t speak or walk after her rescue, has made a remarkable recovery and is looking forward to attending college. She couldn’t immediately be reached for comment after the hearing. 

Her mother Elvis Morgan was conflicted after the pleas.
“I don’t know how to feel right now,” she told the AJC. 

The pleas mark a major step, but not the end of the case. Mcintosh’s daughter, Najlaa, who is also accused of murder in the death of baby Alcenti for allegedly denying food to her, three other children and Sweeting at her father’s order because of some “misbehavior.” No trial date has been set for Najlaa Ncintosh.

The murder case began on Nov. 11, 2014, when Calvin Mcintosh went to a Sandy Springs hospital with the baby and told staff she wasn’t breathing. It was too late to save her, and a nurse said the child looked like a skeleton.

None of Sweeting’s family had ever met the baby; they’d been searching for Sweeting for four years.

Hospital staff notified Gwinnett police, who soon raided Room 310 at the Extended Stay America on Jimmy Carter Boulevard, where the group had been living. They found Sweeting in dire need of medical attention and the other three children malnourished. Police said two of the children were the product of incest between the Mcintoshs, the other was another child Sweeting had with Mcintosh.

In the room, officers also discovered literature about the beliefs of the Nuwaubian group, which authorities have long called a black supremacist cult. The group once had a secretive Egyptian-themed compound in Putnam County until the leader, Dwight York, went to prison for child molestation.

Defense attorney Walt Britt said the Alford plea doesn’t mean Mcintosh is admitting guilt and he pointed out that he had planned to keep the state from bringing up anything about the Nuwaubians.

“Mr. McIntosh, at his plea and sentencing, disputed the state’s case, but determined it was in his best interest to enter a plea,” Britt told the AJC. “I am very sorry the death of the baby...and all injuries and problems that the other children suffered.”

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