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Mother: Girl's dad warned about zealotry

A woman whose child was starved to death to exorcise demons testifiedThursday the girl's father had warned her about religious zealotry before their daughter's death.

But Darlene Jackson, who claims evangelist Mary Nicholson of nearby Pace convinced her that Ms. Jackson's 4-year-old daughter, Kimberly McZinc, was possessed by demonic spirits, said she couldn't remember Kenneth McZinc's specific concerns.

"I can recall having a conversation and his concerns . . . but I can't recall everything said," Ms. Jackson replied after defense attorney Glenn Arnold asked whether McZinc had warned her about religious cults like that of Jim Jones in Guyana.

Ms. Jackson, 34, testified for a third day Thursday in Ms. Nicholson's trial in Santa Rosa County Circuit Court.

Ms. Nicholson, 40, is charged with first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse in Kimberly's death Feb. 8, 1988. The state contends Ms. Nicholson convinced Ms. Jackson that Kimberly was possessed by evil spirits that could be exorcised only through strict diet and discipline.

Ms. Jackson pleaded guilty last March to third-degree murder and child abuse in Kimberly's beating and starvation death. Her case went to trial, but she entered her plea before the jury had finished its deliberations. She is now serving a seven-year prison term.

Arnold pointed out numerous differences between testimony Ms. Jackson gave at her own trial and what she has told jurors this week.

Noting Ms. Jackson previously said Ms. Nicholson knew when investigators from the state Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services were coming to check complaints that Kimberly was being abused in October and December 1987, Arnold asked why Ms. Nicholson never told Ms. Jackson about the impending visits.

"I don't have an answer to that," Ms. Jackson said.