Court-appointed psychiatrists say a traveling missionary accused of marrying his 13-year-old daughter to a 48-year-old friend is competent to stand trial.
John Perry Chaney, charged with conspiracy to commit rape of a child and conspiracy to commit aggravated sexual abuse of child, had a competency hearing scheduled for Wednesday before 4th District Judge Guy R. Burningham. State prosecutors said Tuesday they would not challenge doctors' findings that Chaney is mentally competent.Chaney, 39, was bound over to district court in February following a preliminary hearing. However, he has yet to be arraigned on the two second-degree felonies. The case might be put on hold again because of a motion filed this week by Chaney claiming Burningham is biased. Another judge might have to rule on the motion before Chaney's case can proceed.
At Chaney's preliminary hearing, his daughter, now 15, testified that in 1993 her father married her to Don Beaver, 48, in a ceremony performed in American Fork. She said she had sex with Beaver about a week after the ceremony.
Charges were filed against Beaver last year in 3rd District Court, but he remains a fugitive.
Michigan authorities arrested Chaney in October and placed his pregnant 15-year-old wife into foster care. Chaney met his wife while
proselyting in Louisiana.
In an interview with the Deseret News, Chaney said he opposed the marriage of his daughter and Beaver, but the marriage was ordered by God. He also said the marriage was not intended to provide a means for the two to have sex, but it kept his daughter honorable because it prevented her from having sex outside of marriage.
Chaney said state authorities have no jurisdiction over him because he's never contracted with the government. He said he's bound by common law and the law of the Bible. He refuses to wear jail clothing and won't shower unless surveillance cameras are turned off.
Chaney also has ties to the Freemen in Montana. His wife's mother is currently holed up with two children in the Freemen compound. Also, he tried to pay his $200,000 bail in February with a $400,000 bogus check signed by Freemen leader LeRoy Sweitzer. When the court refused to accept the check and give him $200,000 change, Chaney threatened the judge with "prosecution for criminal conversion." He also said he'll bill the judge 18 percent interest until the money is paid.