Ex-NFL Player Charged in NJ Murder
Mar. 24, 1999
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) _ Prosecutors say a former National Football League player who admitted to killing seven people also stabbed a homeless white man to death as a sacrifice to the leader of a black supremacist cult.
Robert Rozier, 43, was charged with murder Tuesday in the 1984 slaying of Attilio Cicala, who was stabbed near the Yahweh Ben Yahweh temple in Newark.
Prosecutors said they believed cult members offered Cicala up as a sacrifice a few days before the cult's leader was to visit Newark.
Rozier has been jailed in California on $1 million bail. Ray Weiss, a spokesman for Essex County prosecutors, said he didn't know when Rozier would appear for an arraignment in New Jersey.
Rozier, who also called himself Neariah Israel, or ``Child of God,'' was the leader of the Yahweh Ben Yahweh Temple in Newark at the time of the killing, prosecutor Patricia Hurt said Tuesday. The temple no longer exists.
Yahweh Ben Yahweh, which means ``God the Son of God'' in Hebrew, is a Black Israelite sect that believes blacks are the lost tribe of Israel and that true Jews and white people are devils.
Ben Yahweh, also known as Hulon Mitchell Jr., and six others were convicted in 1992 of conspiracy for ordering 14 killings of white people and resistant black disciples.
Rozier, who lives in Cameron Park, Calif., joined the cult in the 1980s, after briefly playing as a lineman for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1979.
He was convicted of committing four murders under orders from the cult.
He later admitted to seven killings and was sentenced to 22 years in prison, but was released after 10 years in 1996, after testifying against Yahweh and other followers.
Rozier became a federally protected witness in 1996, relocated to his home in California and changed his name.
John Armstrong, 40, another cult member, also has been charged with Cicala's slaying.