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`HEY, BRO': CASUAL EXCHANGE IS LAFFERTYS’ FIRST IN 11 YEARS

SHARE `HEY, BRO': CASUAL EXCHANGE IS LAFFERTYS’ FIRST IN 11 YEARS

Brothers Ron and Dan Lafferty spoke to each other for the first time in 11 years Monday, and again it was inside a courtroom.

"Hey, bro, what's happening?" Ron Lafferty said as his brother raised his eyebrows in recognition."Good to see ya," Dan Lafferty responded before taking the witness stand in 4th District Court before Judge Steven L. Han-sen.

But that was the only time Monday that the two brothers spoke to each other or even acknowledged each other.

Dan Lafferty was brought to court from the Utah State Prison so he could give defense attorney Mike Esplin consent to represent Ron Lafferty in his upcoming mur-der trial. Esplin served as Dan Lafferty's standby counsel in 1984 when the two brothers represented themselves in a trial for the throat-slashing killings of their sister-in-law and infant niece.

"I saw Ron for a few seconds just after the trial in the halls of (maximum security), and we waved at each other, but that was it," Dan Lafferty said from his holding cell prior to Monday's court appearance.

On July 24, 1984, Brenda Wright Lafferty, 24, and Erica Lafferty, 18 months, were found in their American Fork apartment with their throats slashed. Ron and Dan Lafferty, who said the killings were ordered by God, were both convicted of the crimes.

Dan Lafferty was sentenced to life in prison, while Ron Lafferty was sentenced to die. However, Ron Lafferty is back for a second trial because the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals said the first trial judge used the wrong legal standard in determining his mental competence. Attorneys in the case are still arguing pretrial motions, and no trial date is scheduled.

When Esplin gave Dan Lafferty a sampling of the questioning he might face if called as a witness in the murder trial, the younger brother disclosed what his testimony likely will be.

Dan Lafferty said he was the one who insisted on going through with the killings and that he slashed both victims' throats. He said he and his brother and two tran-sients were at Brenda Wright Lafferty's apartment prior to the killings but left for a short time and then returned when he was compelled by the "spirit."

"I was moved to return to the premise," he said. "They were all surprised."

Esplin asked Dan Lafferty if he was the one who pushed his way into his sister-in-law's apartment, tied a cord around her neck, went into the baby's room and slashed the infant's throat before returning to slash Brenda Lafferty's throat.

"In that sequence, yes," he responded in a calm and matter-of-fact way.

During the questioning, Ron Lafferty sat uncharacteristically quiet, only shaking his head from side to side a few times, appearing to indicate disagreement with his brother's version of what happened.

Dan Lafferty's statements also contradict testimony from the first trial, in which transients Ricky Knapp and Chip Carnes testified that the brothers returned to the car after the killings and made statements that Ron Lafferty killed Brenda Lafferty and Dan Lafferty killed the baby.

Ron Lafferty will be in court again Wednesday when attorneys continued arguments on 15 pretrial motions, including motions for a new preliminary hearing and a change of venue.