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FORMER WIFE OF POLYGAMIST ADMITS TO 1977 CLAN MURDER

SHARE FORMER WIFE OF POLYGAMIST ADMITS TO 1977 CLAN MURDER

A former wife of polygamous cult leader Ervil LeBaron has written a book in which she confesses to killing a rival Utah polygamist, a crime for which she was acquitted more than a decade ago.

Rena Chynoweth told KSL-TV in a story that aired Sunday that she shot and killed Murray naturopath Dr. Rulon Allred in 1977 on LeBaron's orders."What we were told by Ervil was that God had told him that a certain person needed to die," said Chynoweth, who was LeBaron's 13th wife. "That this certain person was a false prophet and the Lord would be very pleased if this false prophet were eliminated.

"I thought when I participated in the murders - the murder, I should say - that God was commanding me to do so," she said.

Chynoweth was 19 and pregnant with one of LeBaron's children in 1979 when she and three other members of LeBaron's "Church of the Lamb of God" were tried for Allred's murder. The jury returned not-guilty verdicts.

LeBaron was convicted of ordering Allred's death in 1980. He died a year later of a heart attack at the Utah State Prison.

Chynoweth, now 31, granted the interview providing her location not be revealed. She lives under an assumed name with her new husband and two children fathered by LeBaron.

She said she is under a death sentence by LeBaron followers who are carrying on the blood cult.

Indeed, two of her brothers, an 8-year-old niece and another former LeBaron follower were murdered in Texas in July 1988.

Chynoweth provided KSL-TV with galley proofs of her book, entitled "The Blood Covenant," scheduled for publication in May by Eakin Publications Inc., Austin, Texas.

In it, she describes how she and another LeBaron wife went into the 77-year-old Allred's office, both armed with handguns, and confronted him in the waiting room.

"Reaching into the pocket of the blue parka I was wearing, I pulled out the gun and fired at him," she wrote. Chynoweth said Allred's murder was a trap set by LeBaron to kill his brother, Verlan, who he knew would attend Allred's funeral.

She said a group of LeBaron followers, armed with automatic weapons and shotguns, drove to the high school where the funeral was held but lost their nerve and left.

During the past two decades, police believe more than two dozen murders can be attributed to LeBaron clan violence.