Local/State

Political ties in satanic sex case a concern

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The strong political ties of two people charged in an alleged Satanic rape, torture and kidnapping claim is raising concerns about who should prosecute the case, according to Eyewitness News sources.

ABC11 has learned the case may be referred to the State Attorney General's Office because of a potential conflict of interest in the Durham District Attorney's Office.

A Durham prosecutor declined to comment.

Diana Palmer, the first vice chairwoman of the Durham Democratic Committee, turned herself into Durham authorities Wednesday on the charge of accessory after the fact of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious injury. Palmer is also a member of the party's State Executive Committee. Investigators say Palmer removed evidence from the alleged crime scene.

Joy Johnson, a former Durham Democratic party member, is accused of aiding and abetting her husband, Joseph Craig in an alleged Satanic sex ritual over a period of six months.

Investigators say the Craig held a man in dog cage and beat him with a wood cane and cable cord. A female victim has told police she was sexually assaulted while being held against her will. Eyewitness News has learned she is undergoing psychiatric treatment.

The arrest warrant issued for Palmer said she interfered with the investigation "by assisting Joseph Craig in removing items of evidence in the crimes and placing items of evidence in the trunk of her vehicle. " Investigators said Palmer placed the items in the trunk of her car and drove to another location to hide them.

Palmer's attorney said his client did not participate in any alleged Satanic rituals and is not a member of a cult.

"She vehemently denies any involvement with a cult," said attorney William Thomas.

Palmer will make her first court appearance on Thursday. She's being held at the Durham County jail on a $95,000 bond.

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