Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Yaweh ben Yahweh Cult

The Hit List

Carlton Carey
Carlton Carey
Mitchell's enforcers were waiting for Carlton Carey, formerly Yakim Israel, when he returned home from an exhausting police interview. His wife, Mildred Banks, was with him when four men wearing ski masks attacked them as soon as they walked through the door of their house. They shot Carey to death, but, miraculously, Banks survived despite being shot in the chest and having her throat slit. The gunman left her for dead and she dragged herself to the house of a neighbor, who alerted the police.

Although Banks recovered, changed her name, and relocated to a secret place, the jagged scar necklace would remind her of that hellish night for the rest of her life.

Machete used in Carey attack
Machete used in Carey attack

Back at the Temple, Mitchell held a pep rally to celebrate the death of the infidels. Although some attendees were horrified by the news, they dared not show it. The temple guards were watching the congregation closely, looking for any sign of inconformity. They had no choice but to clap their hands and praise Yahweh with the rest of the horde; they didn't want to be next on Mitchell's hit list.

After the murders, plainclothes cops started patrolling the warehouse full time. Unmarked squad cars patrolled the neighborhood, sizing up the turbaned, machete-carrying guards. The police had no proof pegging the attacks to the cult and couldn't raid their holy compound without solid evidence. All they could do was keep their frustrating watch, as 14 terrified dissidents went into hiding, carefully erasing the trail behind them.

And then a break came in the case. The cops noticed a green carpet hanging from the temple wall that matched a piece of carpet found with Green's body. Sergeant Frank Wesolowski, the head of the homicide department, decided to pay an official visit to the eccentric prophet.

Mitchell received them in his office, calmly sitting at his desk, flanked by two large guards. He deflected their questions about the cult, lecturing them instead about white oppression of blacks. At one point, he held up a copy of a historical photograph showing black men being lynched by a white mob, Freedberg writes.

"This is what your people have done to us for the last 400 years," Mitchell told Wesolowski.

The detectives left scratching their heads, baffled by the virulence of cult leader, yet unable to pry any useful information from him.

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