Silent witness

With Shapley refusing to talk, Colorado City man won’t face trial on sexual conduct with minor charges

KINGMAN - Mohave County Judge Steven Conn dismissed, with prejudice, the two sexual conduct with a minor charges facing a Colorado City man.

Conn dismissed the charges against Randolph Joseph Barlow, 33, at the request of Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith Tuesday.

Smith said he spoke with the victim and key witness, Candi Shapley, and her attorney before the trial, and she refused to testify. "I am absolutely convinced she will not testify," Smith told Conn. "She is adamant not to testify."

This isn't the first time Shapley has refused to testify in the case. The trial first started on Aug. 29 and was continued because she refused to testify.

Shapley was held in contempt of court and put into a monitored living facility in Kingman for 30 days. At Smith's request, Shapley was released after serving two weeks. "I am not willing and I don't want to put (Shapley) in jail because she is the victim," Smith said.

Shapley had testified to a grand jury on the same case in 2005 but changed her mind and refused to testify before the first trial began. She had earlier complained to Conn in a letter that she had been treated by prosecutors and investigators as someone without feelings and said she refused to cooperate with the state and testify.

Barlow was facing two counts of sexual conduct with a minor, both Class 6 felonies. Prior to the start of the first trial, the state dropped two counts of sexual assault charges against Barlow pursuant to the wishes of the victim, Smith said.

Barlow is one of the eight members of the polygamy-supporting Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints that were indicted on charges of sexual conduct with a minor. The religious sect believes plural marriage is a sacred part of their religious practice.

Donald Robert Barlow, 50, was found not guilty of the charges in September.

Kelly Fischer was convicted of sexual conduct with a minor and conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor. He was sentenced to 45 days in county jail.

The charges against Terry Darger Barlow, 25, were dismissed by prosecutors because the defense was able to prove he and the victim lived outside Mohave County during the time charged in the indictment.

David Bateman, 49, of Colorado City was found guilty on sexual conduct with a minor and conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor on Oct. 25. He was sentenced to nine months in jail.

Vergel Bryce Jessop, 47, accepted a no contest plea to child abuse, a Class 6 undesignated offense. According to the plea agreement, Jessop will receive three years of supervised probation and may have to register as a sex offender based upon the discretion of Conn. He will be sentenced at 2 p.m. on March 22.

The jury trial for Dale Evans Barlow, 49, has been continued by the state because their expert witness wasn't available. A new trial date has not been set yet.

Rodney Hans Holm, 40, will have a jury trial at 9:30 a.m. on March 20. He will be represented by Bruce Griffen of Flagstaff, who has represented all eight men so far.