Two members of a violent polygamist cult are refusing to say if they will waive their right to a hearing on extradition to Texas to face robbery and burglary charges.
Bond was set at $20,550 apiece for Heber LeBaron, 27, and Douglas Barlow, 28, on the Texas charges Monday. They also face bond of $560,000 apiece on Phoenix charges of operating an illegal enterprise.The half-brothers, wearing blue and gray jail uniforms and chained to nine other inmates, used their hands and a Bible to shield their faces from photographers as they waited for Justice of the Peace Nellie Soto to read them the charges.
They did not answer questions from reporters, but LeBaron joked with other inmates and guards, asking guards at one point for a paper bag to put over his head and saying that if it suffocated him at least it would "get it over quicker."
The sect believes in "blood atonement" and has been linked to a string of violent deaths of relatives and former followers, most recently in Utah and Texas. No one is charged in the slayings, but investigators have said they want to question the half-brothers and other sect members jailed here about the execution-style slayings.
LeBaron told reporters he was declining interviews "on advice of my lawyer" but declined to say who his lawyer is. At one point, he jokingly offered to be interviewed for "one thousand bucks apiece." And speaking to a television reporter while continuing to hide his face behind his Bible, LeBaron said, "I'd talk to you, but I don't have a TV in my cell."
Barlow sat with his hands over his face and did not speak.
Soto told the men that Gov. Rose Mofford had 90 days to sign an extradition warrant and that they would be held in jail unless they posted bond.
"If I was to waive extradition, what would happen?" LeBaron asked. He was told he could start the process by signing forms his jailers have, but he declined to say later whether that was what he planned to do.
Texas wants LeBaron extradited to face a Dallas County charge of aggravated robbery involving a Richardson, Texas, savings and loan institution. It wants Barlow to face a Harris County charge of burglary from a vehicle in Houston.
The half-brothers and three other members of the Church of the Lamb of God also face hearings over the next week on charges of operating an illegal enterprise in what authorities say was a car theft ring.
LeBaron, Barlow and Tarsa LeBaron face their hearings on Tuesday, while Cynthia and Richard LeBaron face theirs next Monday. Tarsa is jailed in lieu of $3,425 bond and also has a federal warrant pending to hold her as a material witness for a grand jury investigating the Utah killing.
Cynthia and Richard LeBaron face similar hearings next Monday and are being held on $20,550 bond apiece, with material-witness warrants pending.
The sect, the Church of the Lamb of God, has been linked to 18 deaths and disappearances in the last 22 years, including the October 1987 slaying of former sect member Dan Jordan of Bennett, Colo., at a deer-hunting camp in central Utah and the execution-style slayings last month of three men and an 8-year-old girl in Houston and Irving, Texas.
In Houston, Duane Chynoweth, 31, and his daughter, Jennifer, 8, were shot to death as they sat in a pickup truck parked outside a vacant house. About the same time, Chynoweth's brother, Mark, 36, was slain a few miles away. And in Irving, Eddie Marston, 32, was found shot to death.
All those killed were relatives or former followers of Ervil LeBaron, the sect's late patriarch.
The Phoenix charge was filed after police spotted a stolen truck and found evidence of a multistate truck theft ring while searching their vehicles and rooms.
Also found were maps of the Texas cities where the slayings occurred, a Dallas newspaper from around the date of the slayings, a red false beard similar to a beard described by witnesses to the Houston slaying and a pickup truck similar to the one described by witnesses to the Irving slaying.