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Man in Davis case freed

Ruling says insufficient cause to keep him jailed in disappearance

David Rucker Leifson
David Rucker Leifson

The fifth man indicted in the disappearance of Kiplyn Davis will be released from jail so he can continue working.

The government didn't have sufficient cause to keep David Rucker Leifson, 28, locked up in the Salt Lake County Jail, said U.S. District Magistrate Judge Samuel Alba.

Leifson's attorney, Ed Brass, and assistant U.S. Attorney Carlos Esqueda agreed with the decision.

"The judge applied the law and made the correct determination," Brass said.

But during the hearing Wednesday morning, Esqueda told Alba that he had a recording of threats Leifson made to another man charged in the case, Timmy Brent Olsen. The recording is from 1996, Esqueda said, adding that it includes a claim by Leifson that he is a chameleon and can fool anybody.

But Brass said there was nothing in a presentence report prepared for Alba to indicate that Leifson has a propensity for violence.

No one is charged with murder, said U.S. Attorney Paul Warner, at a recent press conference. Murder charges would be filed by the Utah County Attorney's Office.

Leifson is charged with six counts of perjury, stemming from his appearance before a grand jury on Dec. 1, 2004, when Leifson was asked about other men who may have been involved in Kiplyn Davis' disappearance.

The indictment against Leifson was filed Nov. 10 and he was arrested later that day. The indictment was unsealed Monday.

Leifson's charges aren't considered a violent crime and therefore not serious enough to keep him in jail, Brass said.

On Monday, Leifson pleaded not guilty to the perjury counts.

Kiplyn Davis, 15, disappeared from Spanish Fork High School in 1995. Friends had seen her before lunchtime but not afterward. Her purse and personal belongings were still in her locker. All five men charged with varying degrees in a conspiracy to keep quiet about her disappearance were Spanish Fork High School students at the time.

Alba said Leifson will be under extensive supervision, may not move from Bountiful, where he currently resides, must continue working and may not have contact with any witnesses or potential witnesses in the case.

He may not leave Utah without special permission and must maintain contact with Brass. A weapon in his home must be turned over to someone else for safekeeping, and he may not use alcohol or drugs, an activity that will be monitored by random urine tests.

He was expected to be released from the Salt Lake County Jail about 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The Davis family was disappointed with the decision.

Wednesday, her father Richard Davis said the family hoped one of the five men charged in his daughter's disappearance would confess his involvement. He said he wishes one of the men could tell him what happened to his daughter.

"I sure would like to bring her home before the snow flies," Davis said, adding that once winter hits, finding his daughter's body will become even more difficult.

Leifson is currently awaiting a Jan. 17 trial date before U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball.

Others charged with perjury in U.S. District Court include Olsen, Christopher Neal Jeppson, Garry Blackmore, Scott Brunson. All have January trial dates.


E-mail: jdougherty@desnews.com