Clarence Leake, who took hostages at the Washington Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in October 1986, testified Monday that the incident resulted from a titanic battle between God and Satan in preparation for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
The temple "was a war zone in battle, a significant battle . . . (hat) continues to be fought today, in this courtroom," Leake told jurors. "Satan's side suffered considerable loss."I don't know how the final scene will turn out," he added. "One does not have the advantage over the other."
Leake, 30, took the stand in his own defense Monday in an apparent attempt to bolster his claim that he was mentally incompetent and not criminally responsible for the temple siege.
While testifying under direct questioning by his attorney, Carol Freeman, Leake described the 16-hour hostage incident inspired by God. His memory was photographic and his manner sure as he told how he was instructed by God to turn back at Dawson Creek, British Columbia, from a trip up the Alcan Highway to return to Virginia for "something significant" that was about to happen to him.
Under cross-examination by Assistant States' Attorney John McCarthy, Leake became evasive, failed to remember important facts and shouted "another lie" when confronted by testimony from two hostages he took.
McCarthy has sought to show that Leake, at odds with his bishop, Gale Brimhall of the Langley Ward, was upset at losing his temple recommend and forced his way into the temple in a fit of anger.
Under cross-examination he professed not to remember showing his .44 magnum revolver or .22 automatic pistol to his hostages, and at one point he said he gave the .44 to security guard Jose Mendez, after taking him hostage.
He at first denied, but later admitted, having conversations with Bishop Brimhall over his failure to pay church tithing or to attend services regularly. He also denied he told officers after his arrest he was angry at the church and feared Mormons might shoot him while he was in custody.
Leake admitted that God never spoke orally or appeared visually to him throughout the temple incident.
He became sarcastic and said he "played his own psychological games" with authorities when police tried to talk him into ending the siege of the solemn assembly room on the temple's seventh floor. Leake admitted he lied about planting bombs around the temple - a ploy, he said, aimed at getting a police SWAT team to withdraw.
Leake conceded he "could have disobeyed" the directions he said the Lord gave him to enter the temple, "and none of this would have happened."
He told the Court he believed he had the right to do what he did in the temple. He said he knew that what he did would have been a crime outside the temple.
If found mentally ill, he would be sent to a Maryland maximum-security State hospital until he could prove to Judge Peter Messittes that he was not a danger to society.
If found guilty he could be sentenced to more than 30 years in a Maryland prison.
The opening of Monday's trial session was delayed more than an hour for Leake to eat sandwiches brought by the family of Carl Olson, one of his former hostages. Leake told the court he had not eaten prison food over the weekend because it was provided by the state. He did eat food brought him by his government-appointed public defense counsel.