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Rape hearing is postponed

PROVO — The preliminary hearing for Ralph Joe Jiron Sr., 58, the Springville man accused of paying an undercover officer to kill, kidnap and intimidate a number of witnesses, has been continued to April 16 at 3 p.m.

Appearing before 4th District Court Judge James Taylor Wednesday to provide an answer to seven charges of rape of an underage family member, Jiron waived his right to a speedy trial. His attorneys asked that Jiron's appearance scheduled for next week as well as the March 12 hearing be combined.

Jiron is charged with one count of criminal solicitation of aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, and criminal solicitation of kidnapping, a third-degree felony, as well as a Class A misdemeanor count of solicitation of witness tampering related to witnesses who were to testify at the rape trial.

Police allege Jiron raped a family member over a 30 year period and, while in jail, paid an undercover police officer $1,000 to murder, kidnap and intimidate several witnesses who were expected to testify against him in a rape trial.

Police say the plan was to kidnap one witness and force her to watch the murder of a second witness. The surviving witness would then be "detained" and forced to contact a third witness to intimidate that witness into refusing to testify against Jiron.