HOUSTON — A polygamist sect leader's daughter was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to a charge relating to the shotgun killings in Texas of an 8-year-old girl and three sect members who had left the church, U.S. Attorney Jose Angel Moreno said Thursday.
Jacqueline LeBaron, the daughter of Utah polygamist Ervil LeBaron, was originally indicted in 1992 but was a fugitive for almost 20 years before being arrested last year in Honduras. She had faced 14 counts, including murder, and could have faced life in prison.
But she pleaded guilty in June to conspiracy to obstruct religious beliefs as part of an agreement with prosecutors. LeBaron, 46, faced up to five years in prison but received a lesser sentence from U.S. District Court Judge Sim Lake, Moreno said in a news release.
Before entering her plea in June, she expressed remorse, telling Lake: "I'm very sorry this happened."
Jacqueline LeBaron was among six family members charged in the killings. Authorities say she and her family were following their sect's doctrine of blood atonement, in which defectors were killed. The U.S. attorney's office has said that Jacqueline LeBaron assisted her siblings in the plot by giving them travel money.
Moreno said LeBaron had admitted that in May 1988 that she followed the instructions of her brother and gave her sister $500, telling her to go to Houston and prepare for the murders of the "Sons of Perdition."
Ervil LeBaron had created the Church of the First Born of the Lamb of God in the 1970s. He taught that anyone who left the church would be called the "Sons of Perdition" and should be killed, Moreno said.
Former sect members Duane Chynoweth, Mark Chynoweth and Ed Marston had left the church after Ervil LeBaron was convicted in Utah for murder. While in prison, Evril LeBaron drew up a document stating that the three had become "Sons of Perdition" and ordered his remaining followers — mostly his wives and children — to kill them. Ervil LeBaron died in prison in 1981, but his orders were preached after his death.
In June 1988 in Houston, Mark Chynoweth was fatally shot three times by one of Jacqueline LeBaron's brothers. At another location in the city, two other siblings shot and killed Duane Chynoweth and his 8-year-old daughter Jenny. Authorities said the girl was killed because she witnessed her father's death.
At about the same time, Marston was shot at an appliance business in the Dallas suburb of Irving. He died of his injuries about four hours later. All the victims were shot in the head.
Jacqueline LeBaron is the last defendant to be convicted in this case. She was also ordered by the judge to pay $134,000 in restitution to the victims.