Barlow trial on hold

Silent witness may be behind delay in polygamist’s case

KINGMAN - The rescheduled trial of Colorado City man Randy Barlow was continued again on Tuesday, and no new trial date has been set.

A news release from the Mohave County Attorney's Office said the trial was continued by the court but did not give any specific reasons.

Barlow's trail started on Aug. 29 at Mohave County Superior Court and ended up with a continuance because the key witness, Candi Shapley, the victim, refused to testify. Shapley was held in contempt of court and put into a monitored living facility in Kingman for 30 days. At the request of County Attorney Matt Smith, Shapley was released after serving two weeks.

Smith said he had a candid conversation with Shapley before she left and hoped she would testify at the rescheduled trial. The continuance on Tuesday hints that Shapley still may not be ready to testify.

Shapley's attorney, Mik Jordahl, had indicated the possibility of a continuance during an interview last week, saying his client might need more time to think everything over.

Shapley, who testified to a grand jury last year, suddenly changed her mind and refused to testify on Aug. 29. In a letter to Superior Court Judge Steven Conn, she said she had been treated badly by prosecutors and investigators and refused to cooperate.

Defense attorney Bruce Griffen then filed a motion asking Conn to dismiss the case. Smith countered by asking Conn to continue the trial until Shapley agreed to testify.

Conn made it clear that he would continue the trial date for now, but it would not last forever. If prosecutors failed to offer enough evidence to prove Barlow's guilt with or without the testimony from Shapley within a reasonable period of time, he said that he had no choice but to dismiss the charges.

Smith has said that without Shapley's testimony, he could not win the case.

Barlow faces two counts of sexual conduct with a minor, both Class 6 felonies. If convicted, he could receive a sentence between four months and two years in prison or receive probation.

Barlow is believed to be a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a sect that believes plural marriage is a sacred part of their religious practice.

The County Attorney's Office also announced the continuance of two more trials against Colorado City men this week. Trials of Dale Barlow and Vergel Jessop on Oct. 3 and 11 were continued to later dates because of a schedule conflict for Griffen.