Prosecutors miss deadline, charges dropped against 3 in 'filthy' compound case


During a separate hearing, Judge Jeff McElroy separately dismissed some of the charges against fellow defendants, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj and Jany Leveille. Police officials found 11 children that were clearly being neglected; Abdul-Ghani was not among them.

The five were arrested this month at a remote desert compound where 11 children were found living in filth and the body of the 3-year-old boy was discovered.

Prosecutors could still try to charge Morton, Subhannah, and Hujrah via a grand jury indictment, but it is unclear if they will pursue that option.

Siraj was arrested with another Atlanta man, Lucas Morten, along with Leville, Hurah Wahhaj, 38, and Subhannah Wahhabj, 35.

Three of the adults from the compound had been released Wednesday after state judges dismissed child neglect charges, noting that prosecutors missed deadlines to present evidence and that charges may have been improperly filed by the sheriff and prosecutors. The prosecutors, as well as two judges who dismissed charges on Wednesday, have been pilloried on social media for allowing "Muslim extremists" to walk free.

Prosecutors could still seek charges for the three by requesting that a grand jury indict them, but as of now have offered no immediate indication on how they would proceed.

The dead boy's father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj (see-DAHJ' IBN wah-HAJ'), and his partner Jany Leveille remained silent as pleas were entered by a judge on their behalf.

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Law enforcement offices finally raided the compound August 3 after Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe's office received a message, thought to have come from someone inside, saying, "We are starving and need food and water".

The judge added: "I don't know if they are overworked or they don't have enough people at their office". Children told authorities that the young boy had died in February after being denied his medicine and subjected to freakish religious rituals.

Prosecutors said in court filings they discovered a hand-written document called "Phases of a Terrorist Attack" that was seized from the compound and includes vague instructions for "the one-time terrorist" and mentioned an unnamed place called "the ideal attack site".

However, despite the three defendants being released from custody, their five children will remain in foster care while health and trauma assessments are carried out, a spokesman for the State Children, Youth and Families Department said Thursday.

The boy's mother initially reported him missing past year from Jonesboro, Georgia, after Siraj Ibn Wahhaj said he was taking the child to a park and didn't return. While Backus ordered all five suspects to be released to house arrest and with other strict conditions including Global Positioning System monitoring, they all remained in custody because they were not able to meet the requirements.

Members of the group were alleged to have conducted weapons training with the children with the aim of carrying out acts of terror and were charged with child abuse. The exact cause of death has not been determined by forensic specialists.

Siraj Wahhaj was at one point subject to an extradition to Georgia, where a warrant had been issued for his arrest on the suspicion that he abducted his son, Abdul-Ghani.