Father, son in trial for stepson's killing

MIAMI, Nov. 3 (UPI) -- A member of an infamous Miami religious sect and his son face trial in the killing of the man's stepson, whose body ended up in a canal, authorities said.

Prosecutors allege the stepfather, Ian Vantull, 56, and his biological son Mordecai Ray killed Ezra Murphy in April 2007 and dumped his body in a Palm Beach County canal, the Miami Herald reported Wednesday.


Vantull is a follower of the late Miami black supremacist cult leader Yahweh ben Yahweh, who was convicted in federal court in the early '90s for conspiring to commit a series of murders, the Herald said.

Vantull and Ray, 28, allegedly beat Murphy to death after the victim rebelled from the family, quitting his handyman job with his stepfather and twice slashing tires on Vantull's truck, prosecutors said.

Witnesses said they saw Vantull and Ray fighting with Murphy in front of Vantull's North Miami-Dade house and later hauling a large object wrapped in plastic bags away in a truck, prosecutors said.

The green rope and trash bags found wrapped over Murphy's body matched ones found in Vantull's house, Prosecutor Deisy Hernandez told jurors.


Murphy's blood was found inside Vantull's house, a Miami-Dade police report said.

Latest Headlines