An extradition hearing is scheduled for Monday in Chicago for nine members of the Ervil LeBaron polygamist family wanted for questioning in the 1987 slaying of a rival polygamist clan leader.
The three LeBaron sons suspected of slaying several rivals are either in custody or presumed dead.The defendants in Chicago - all relatives of the late Ervil LeBaron - are sought to testify before a federal grand jury in Salt Lake City investigating the slaying Oct. 16, 1987, of Daniel Ben Jordan.
Taken into custody Feb. 14 after a North Lake, Ill., police officer spotted a couple of them in a truck bearing expired Georgia license plates were: Aaron Morel LeBaron, 20, Andrea Monique LeBaron, 18, and Patricia LeBaron, 29, three of Ervil's sons and daughters; and Linda Rae Johnson, 46, one of Ervil's wives.
The four also are being held on federal charges of conspiracy to transport illegal alien children.
Five children, Joshua LeBaron, Norma LeBaron, Danny LeBaron, Jessica LeBaron and Jared LeBaron - ages 11 to 16 - also were taken into custody and are being held as material witnesses to the Jordan homicide. Their exact genealogy was unclear on Friday.
It is believed the nine had fled to Illinois after Natasha Thelma LeBaron, 19, a daughter of Ervil, was arrested on Jan. 26 in Gwinett County, Ga., outside of Atlanta. Natasha LeBaron is also wanted for questioning in the death of Jordan.
She was arrested by Georgia police last month for selling an appliance without a serial number.
Jordan, who left Ervil's sect in a power struggle and formed his own group in Colorado, was gunned down on a deer hunt outing in the mountains near Manti, Utah. After Jordan's funeral in Colorado, Aaron LeBaron tried to take control over Jordan's family. Police dropped charges of menacing after the family said it didn't feel threatened.
Three Utah lawmen - from the Salt Lake FBI office, the state organized crime bureau and the Salt Lake County attorney's office - flew to Chicago and Georgia to interview the defendants.
Local authorities, however, would not disclose the nature of those interviews because of the secrecy surrounding the grand jury investigation.
The LeBarons arrested in Illinois used fictitious names the day they were stopped outside a motel in North Lake, but police became suspicious after finding a note that said to check on "warrants for Natasha in Denver."
Officials contacted Denver immigration authorities, who contacted the LeBaron task force in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County Attorney Dave Yocom said. "It didn't take long for everybody to figure out who the (Illinois) police had in custody."
Yocom, who prosecuted Ervil LeBaron for murdering a rival leader in Murray in 1977, said the LeBarons, using fictitious names, have been traveling the country for years and setting up appliance businesses. Several LeBaron family members also are suspected of auto theft and slaying rivals.
Last June 27, in Houston, Duane Chynoweth and his 8-year-old daughter, Jennifer, were shot to death as they waited in a pickup truck outside a vacant home to which Duane was to deliver an appliance.
Simultaneously, Duane's brother, Mark, was shot to death at his appliance business a few miles away. The Chynoweths were former Ervil LeBaron followers.
The same day, Eddie Marston, one of Ervil's stepsons and an appliance business owner, was shot to death in Irving, Texas.
In July, five LeBaron family members were arrested in Phoenix and face trial in April on auto-theft ring charges. Those family members, which include one of Ervil's sons, Heber LeBaron, are being investigated in connection with the Texas and Utah slayings.
Ervil LeBaron - an excommunicated Mormon who formed his own Church of the Lamb of God and moved to Sonora, Mexico - died in Utah State Prison in 1981 while serving time for murdering rival polygamist leader Rulon Allred in Murray in 1977. Before his death, however, LeBaron allegedly ordered his sons and followers to slay defectors from his religion.
The Ervil LeBaron legacy is believed responsible for up to 20 slayings and disappearances.
LeBaron's sons are suspected in the disappearance of Leo Evoniuk, a former LeBaron lieutenant who, after Ervil's death, shared control of the sect with Ervil's brother, Arturo, until a falling out. Arturo was slain in Caborca, Sonora, Mexico.