A prosecutor says he can link four members of a polygamist sect with the remaining charges against them in connection with a truck-theft ring, even without illegally obtained evidence.
Randy Wakefield, a deputy Maricopa County attorney, told Judge Frank Galanti of Maricopa County Superior Court Friday that police can build a case through their cooperation with authorities in Texas, where the four are wanted for questioning in four slayings in the Houston and Dallas areas.Earlier this month, Galati granted a prosecution motion to dismiss 16 charges against each of the four offspring of the late Ervil LeBaron, founder of the Church of the Lamb of God, a polygamist sect.
Phoenix police and Texas authorities have exchanged photographs and fingerprints linking the four to a truck-theft operation, Wakefield said.
Defense lawyers argued that all of the remaining charges should be tossed out because the investigation was tainted by the illegally seized evidence.
Galati took the issue under advisement and said he expects to rule before an April 7 pretrial hearing. Trial tentatively is to start April 18.
Defendants in the case are Douglas Lee Barlow, 28; Heber LeBaron, 25; Tarsa LeBaron, 24; and Cynthia LeBaron, 22. Each faces 10 counts: one count each of conspiracy, racketeering and attempted theft, and seven counts of theft.
The case of Richard LeBaron, who turned 18 on March 5, was sent to Juvenile Court earlier this year, but he was indicted by a county grand jury March 1 after a judge ruled that he would be prosecuted as an adult.
He is charged with one count each of conspiracy, racketeering and attempted theft, and five counts of theft. Wakefield said Friday he will ask for that case to be consolidated with the one before Galati.
The five defendants are wanted for questioning in connection with four Texas slayings in June and the October 1987 death in Utah of Daniel Ben Jordan, a rival polygamist who split from Ervil LeBaron's sect.