Nuwaubian sect leader will undergo
Athens Banner-Herald/August 13, 2003
By Joe Johnson
Religious sect leader and admitted child molester Dwight
''Malachi'' York is to be transferred this week from a Georgia
county jail to a federal penitentiary where he will undergo
psychological testing to determine his fitness to stand trial,
York's defense attorney said Tuesday.
Atlanta attorney Manubir Arora said exactly where his client
will be examined was unknown as of Tuesday, but a likely place
would be the Butner Federal Correctional Institution in Butner,
''This is something that will be determined by the (U.S.)
Marshal Service,'' Arora said.
The evaluation of the former Athens resident's competency is to
be performed under the order of the new judge in York's case, U.S.
District Court Judge C. Ashley Royal, who denied York's recent
motion to void an earlier order for a psychological exam made by
U.S. District Court Judge Hugh Lawson recused himself from the
case July 18, after York's defense team alleged Lawson had lost
his impartiality by becoming an unwitting participant in
York had already undergone one court-ordered psychological
exam, which raised questions about his mental competency, and
further evaluation was ordered by Lawson following the judge's
June 25 rejection of a plea bargain York had made with federal
York, 58, is leader of a religious sect called the United
Nuwaubian Nation of Moors, and prosecutors allege that under the
guise of spiritual leader and deity, he sexually abused the
underage children of his followers at the Nuwaubian compound in
Eatonton and at York's mansion on Mansfield Court in Athens.
York pleaded guilty to 74 state counts of child molestation and
other related charges, and as part of an agreement with federal
prosecutors had pleaded guilty to a single count of transporting
children across state lines for sexual purposes in return for a
recommendation he serve 15 years in prison.
In rejecting the federal plea agreement, Lawson said 15 years
in prison would be too lenient a penalty for York. He told
attorneys he would agree to a 20-year prison sentence, which
prompted the defense's motion for Lawson to recuse himself.
Suddenly faced with the prospect of a trial, York's attorneys
asked Lawson for another psychiatric examination because they said
York was unable to assist in his own defense, claiming he was a
native American tribal chief over whom U.S. courts held no
Two days after Lawson granted the motion, a new addition to
York's defense team filed a motion asking Law-son to rescind his
order for the psychiatric exam. Miami attorney Frank Rubino
claimed in the motion that after spending two hours with his new
client, he determined York was able to assist in his own defense.
In denying Rubino's motion, Royal said he was relying on the
report that resulted from York's first examination.
''Because (the) report provides reasonable cause for the court
to believe (York) may presently be suffering from a mental disease
or defect rendering him mentally incompetent to the extent that he
is unable to "understand the nature and consequences of the
proceedings against him or to assist properly in his defense, the
court will proceed on its own motion for determination of (York's)
mental competency,'' Royal wrote in his July 24 order.
York had been scheduled to begin trial Aug. 4, but the trial
has been delayed indefinitely because of the change of judges and
the pending psychological examination.