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Kingston case is headed for jury
For first time, testimony on group allowed

For the first time during the incest trial, testimony about the "Kingston group" was permitted in court Wednesday.

The jury in the David Ortell Kingston case heard testimony from Christine Gustafson, a Kingston clan member, who testified that the Kingston polygamist group exists and that David Kingston is a part of it."Are you aware of the Kingston group?" prosecutor Dane Nolan asked Gustafson.

"Yeah," Gustafson answered.

"Are you a member of the Kingston group?"

"Yeah."

"Is the defendant (David Kingston) a member of the Kingsston group?"

"Yeah."

Third District Judge David Young allowed Nolan's line of questioning because it would show the jury whether Gustafson had a bias toward David Kingston. Kingston, 33, is on trial this week accused of having sexual intercourse four times in 1998 with his then-16-year-old niece after she allegedly became his 15th wife on Oct. 15, 1997.

He is charged with three counts of incest and one count of unlawful sexual conduct, all third-degree felonies. The all- male jury heard closing arguments Thursday morning and was expected to begin deliberations later Thursday.

The girl testified Tuesday and Wednesday that she was married to her uncle in a secret ceremony conducted by her father, John Daniel Kingston. The two then had sexual intercourse in January, March, April and May 1998, she said.

She testified that girls in the "group or order" do not have high school or higher education in their future. Rather, they are married to whoever clan leader Paul Kingston, her father's brother, approves of.

She described the Kingston order as a group of polygamists composed of "mostly family" members. Tuesday, the girl testified that Gustafson, who is a few years older, is David Kingston's 14th wife.

But Gustafson, called as a witness by Kingston's defense, testified she is not married, has no children, is studying for an accounting degree at Salt Lake Community College and works part time as a bookkeeper.

She said she has known the alleged victim all her life. "I believe we are cousins," she said. She and David Kingston are also related. "I think we are fourth cousins. We're related, somewhere, but it goes kind of way back."

She testified David Kingston asked her if she would live in an apartment at a Kingston coal yard, 197 W. 3900 South. She moved there on March 3, 1998, one day after the alleged victim also moved into the apartment.

"I was there to kind of help (the girl) to kind of break the ties with some of her other friends," Gustafson testified. "I figured, if I was there, she wouldn't go out and find alternate entertainment."

The two shared the same bedroom, and Gustafson sometimes witnessed the girl leave in the middle of the night and come back the next day, she said. She would report that to David Kingston occasionally, because he and the girl's parents were concerned about "the associations that she had and some of the things that she was doing at the time."

David Kingston only visited the apartment occasionally but never spent the night, she said.

It was Gustafson who called the girl's mother, Susan Nelson, when the girl failed to come home the night of May 21, 1998. The next day, John Kingston drove the girl to a family owned ranch in Box Elder County and belt-whipped her until she passed out, according to court testimony.

Gustafson was relaxed on the witness stand, but her confidence was visibly shaken when Nolan questioned her about the Kingston clan. She glanced at David Kingston occasionally, smiled at the jury, and after she was done testifying, she took a seat in the courtroom directly behind David Kingston.

In contrast, David Kingston's legally married wife, Sharli Kingston, 31, appeared tense on the stand.

Sharli Kingston has been married to David Kingston since June 8, 1984, and they have six children. She testified that the alleged victim was never married to her husband, that there was no ceremony on Oct. 15, 1997.

Her recollections of Oct. 15, 1997, were that it was tax deadline day and her husband, a certified public accountant, spent the day working. That evening, he took her to Park City and the two stayed in a room at the Olympia Park Hotel. The next day the two toured and dined in Park City before returning home.

Sharli Kingston suggested that the alleged victim may have heard her talking about their stay in Park City two days later at a birthday party for her 11-year-old daughter. The alleged victim testified that after the Oct. 15 wedding ceremony, she and David Kingston spent the night at the same hotel.

Nolan asked both Sharli Kingston and the alleged victim to diagram the room David Kingston had rented that night. The drawings were compared with a diagram of that room drawn by hotel assistant manager Kevin McDougal.

The alleged victim indicated that the room had two sinks, that there were two night stands, that there was a large closet, that the TV rested on a dresser and that the pool could be seen outside the window -- descriptions that matched the manager's.

Sharli Kingston said she did not look out the window and could not remember whether there were two night stands and two sinks. She also indicated that the TV was enclosed within an armoire. The manager indicated otherwise.