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12:50 AM Mon, Dec. 17th

Fisher will be the first tried

Colorado City man faces charges of sexual conduct with a minor

KINGMAN – The scheduled June 27 trial date of Colorado City man Dale Barlow was postponed to July 11 on Tuesday by Mohave County Superior Court Judge Steven Conn following a plea from Barlow’s defense attorney. Instead, Kelly Fisher, one of the eight men from the polygamous community being charged for sexual conduct with a minor and conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor, is expected to be the first to appear at trial on July 5.

Defensive attorney Bruce Griffen of Flagstaff, who represents all eight Colorado City men, told Judge Conn by phone that he has been tightly involved in another case in past months and was a little behind schedule on Barlow’s case. County Attorney Matt Smith agreed to the continuance.

Both attorneys agreed that evidence collection and interviews concerning Fisher’s case had been largely finished and the trial should move forward. They agreed with Conn’s proposal of an eight-person jury selected from a pool of 21.

Smith told Conn that he still needed to subpoena a couple of witnesses from Colorado City to testify. Among them, Smith named Gary Engels, Mohave County special investigator, Jenny Steed, the victim, and Lugean Steed and Ailison Fisher, both residents of Colorado City. Their testimony is crucial to prove the charges against Fisher, Smith said.

Griffen said he was not familiar with some of those names, but he would review related materials before the trial.

Conn told both attorneys that he would make the Colorado City cases a priority and hoped the cases could move forward as soon as possible.

“I’m eager to get started, because the sooner I start the trial of those eight cases, the earlier they will be over,” Conn said.

Smith questioned whether the address Fisher gave to authorities is his current one because he gave a Washington County police officer a different mailing address during a recent traffic stop. After the hearing, Smith admitted difficulties getting convictions in the cases. “We did have a lot of problems serving subpoenas over there; people are taking off, running and hiding and everything else. It’s going to be very difficult to have them served subpoenas.

“They are living in their own world and they are so closed off. They will do everything they can to stop the cases from moving forward. They will move families, they will hide them out, they would not answer the door, they would lie and say ‘the person is not at home, is not working, I don’t know where they are,’” Smith said. He said his office and the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office have experienced those types of difficulties serving subpoenas in Colorado City in the past.

If people under subpoena do not show up at the trial, Smith said he expects he could get a continuance under the law.

“Though, the reality is that the court might never be able to have those witnesses served the subpoenas,” Smith said.

One possible result is that one of the charges could be dismissed because of lack of evidence. Smith admits that that could happen, but he still wants to move forward with prosecution.

“I’m not worried about being embarrassed (by the result), (because) I’m the county attorney and I have a job to do,” Smith said.

Barlow, Fisher and six others under similar charges from Colorado City are believed to be members of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints, a sect that practices polygamy.

The group’s spiritual leader is Warren Jeffs, who has recently been added to the FBI’s ten most wanted list.