Pastor Pleads Not Guilty To Abusing Junior Cottrell
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
September 18, 2003
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN--A pastor accused in the suffocation death of an 8-year-old boy pleaded not guilty Thursday to felony "physical abuse of a child causing great bodily harm".
Ray Hemphill, 45, entered the plea in Milwaukee County Circuit Court. He was released on signature bond.
Eight-year-old Terrance Cottrell Jr. died August 22 as Hemphill, a self-described pastor in the Faith Temple Church of the Apostolic Faith, attempted to "exorcise" the "evil spirits" of autism from the boy.
Hemphill, who weighed 157 pounds, said that during several prayer sessions he would sit on "Junior's" chest for up to two hours at a time while parishioners -- including the child's mother -- sat on the boy's arms and legs. During the fatal session, the boy had been wrapped in a sheet to keep him immobilized.
The local medical examiner later ruled Cottrell's death a homicide after determining that he died from "mechanical asphyxia due to external chest compression".
If convicted, Hemphill could face up to 10 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.