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Fri, April 19

Barlow sentence: 45 days
FLDS member says jail time, probation won’t change his beliefs


Dale Barlow

In an effort to stay consistent, Mohave County Judge Steven F. Conn sentenced an admitted devout follower of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints to 45 days in jail.

Dale Evans Barlow, 49, of Colorado City also was given three years probation after he pleaded no contest to conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor. He received one day of credit on his sentence.

Barlow must report to the Mohave County Jail to begin serving his sentence by 6 p.m. on Oct. 22. Conn said he chose the Mohave County Jail over a detention facility in Colorado City because he doubted the city's law enforcement would carry out the intent of his order.

Barlow has to register as a sex offender until he successfully completes his probation. At that time, the undesignated offense would be considered a Class 1 misdemeanor.

"I will go forward with my life," Barlow said before sentencing. "I won't change my religion because somebody didn't understand."

Barlow said that he had no ill will against Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith or Mohave County Sheriff Tom Sheahan. He added he felt the state had caused grief to his family.

"My family loves me and wants me home, where I want to be," Barlow said.

Through the polygamist-supporting religious sect, also known as the FLDS, Barlow married three women. He conceived a child with his last wife, the victim in this case, when she was 16.

Defense Attorney Bruce Griffen read a letter from the victim that stated she felt she had not been forced into the relationship and is happy with the decision that she has made.

Griffen described Barlow as a prototype FLDS member of great means spiritually.

"Jail will not change Mr. Barlow's viewpoint on life," Griffen said.

Citing the comments made by Barlow and Griffen, prosecutor Smith said he felt the defendant hadn't accepted responsibility for his actions.

"I think the people up there in Colorado City, followers of Warren Jeffs, don't get it," Smith said.

Smith said though polygamy isn't constitutional, it is not criminal.

"This case isn't about polygamy," Smith said. "It is about the defendant having sexual conduct with a minor."

Smith said he felt that because of Barlow's religious devotion, he would marry and have sex with a minor again if ordered by Jeffs.

Jeffs is currently in custody at a facility in Hurricane, Utah, awaiting trial for two felony counts of rape as an accomplice. He is the spiritual leader, called a prophet, of the sect.

Barlow was indicted on sexual conduct with a minor and conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor charges.

On April 11, the day his trial was scheduled to begin, he pleaded no contest as part of a plea agreement with the Mohave County Attorney's Office. A no contest plea means Barlow did not admit to committing the crime and would not argue the state can prove he committed the crime.

Conn ordered Barlow to pay $3,875.20 to cover the county's cost on jury fees since the trial was canceled so late.

As part of the agreement, the sexual conduct with a minor charge was dismissed.

Barlow is the second member of the FLDS indicted on charges of sexual conduct with a minor and conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor to end in a plea agreement.

A total of eight men, not including Jeffs, were indicted July 2005 on the charges.

Vergel Bryce Jessop, 47, accepted a no contest plea to child abuse, a Class 6 undesignated offense. Jessop was sentenced to three years supervised probation and will be required to register as a sex offender during that time period.

Kelly Fischer was found guilty in Conn's court and was sentenced to 45 days in jail. Donald Robert Barlow was found not guilty by a jury trial.

David Bateman was found guilty in Mohave County Judge's James E. Chavez's court and was sentenced to nine months in prison.

The charges against Terry Darger Barlow were dismissed due to lack of proof he committed the crimes in Mohave County. The charges against Randolph Joseph Barlow were dismissed at the request of Smith because the victim and key witness refused to testify.

Rodney Hans Holm is the only one yet to stand trial or enter into a plea agreement. He will have a jury trial starting at 9:30 a.m. on Sept. 5.


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