Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Killing for God


Ervil LeBaron middle-aged
Ervil LeBaron middle-aged

Ervil LeBaron grimaced as he looked down at the body of his pregnant daughter in the trunk of his car. Rebecca's neck was chafed raw from the rope her killers had used to strangle her, and a stream of blood had dripped from her nose onto the mat under her head. He slammed the trunk shut.

The green-and-white Ford LTD was new, and it was the spiffiest car Ervil had ever owned. Not only had his daughter's blood soiled his precious car, it was also an indication of sloppy work by the murderers -- whom he'd contracted.

"That's inexcusable!" he roared at his goons. "It's just stupidity. We can't have any more of it."

Ervil LeBaron had his daughter killed because God told him to do it. God had told the fundamentalist Mormon to do a lot of peculiar things over the years, and Ervil always obeyed without question.

When the Almighty commanded him to "be fruitful and multiply," Ervil took 13 wives and sired over 50 children.

When God told Ervil to kill, he did that too. His followers slashed a bloody trail across Mexico and the American Southwest that left 25 to 30 people dead. Among the victims were Ervil's wives, his brother, former members of his church, leaders of rival polygamous clans, and his 17-year-old pregnant daughter Becky.

Even after Ervil LeBaron died in a jail cell in 1981, the violence didn't stop. He left behind a long hit list, and his children picked up his bloody mantle, hunting down their father's enemies far and wide and eliminating them.

To this day, former members of the LeBaron cult whose names are on that list are still in hiding.

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