7/11/09 – TG: Judge denies request to suppress evidence in Alamo case

Texarkana Gazette
July 11, 2009
By: Lynn LaRowe

Judge denies request to suppress evidence in Alamo case

A federal judge Friday denied a defense request to suppress evidence collected in a raid on Tony Alamo Christian Ministries in Fouke, Ark.

But the embattled evangelist’s legal advocates may get some of what they wanted regarding what the jury may hear when Alamo’s trial starts Monday.

Lawyers for Alamo met with prosecutors and U.S. District Judge Harry Barnes privately Friday morning.

According to a federal court filing, Barnes denied the defense’s request to suppress evidence collected during a September 2008 raid of ministry property in Fouke, Ark., and denied a request for more
specific information about how, when and where Alamo allegedly broke the law, as well as four other motions.

The docket entry notes that a request to limit what jurors can hear during the trial, such as words like polygamy, cult and compound, has been granted in part and denied in part. The entry doesn’t note what
was granted and what was denied.

“He’s going to reconsider all those motions, we believe, on Monday,” said Houston attorney Don Ervin, Alamo’s lead defense attorney. “So it’s kind of hard to say what he’s actually going to rule.”

Chris Plumlee with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Arkansas said Barnes will likely make an on-the-record announcement concerning his rulings next week before trial begins.

Prosecutors want the jury to hear about Alamo’s alleged polygamy because, “…the defendant often recited wedding vows with the victims of the charges listed in the indictment in this case,” according to a
motion filed late Thursday. “There will be evidence presented that the defendant purchased wedding rings for the victims in this case and would refer to the victims as his ‘wives.’”

The defense doesn’t want the jury to hear anything about Alamo or his associates allegedly beating ministry members.

“He used the fear of physical abuse that he instilled in the victims as one way to control them, thereby permitting him to commit the crimes alleged in the indictment…,” the government’s opposing motion

Alamo’s federal indictment accuses him of bringing young girls across state lines for sex.

The government’s motion argues that talk of Alamo’s previous criminal trial and conviction for tax evasion is unavoidable.

While traveling from Arkansas to West Virginia to prepare for trial, Alamo allegedly took one of the girls named in the indictment with him and had sex with her, the motion states

After his release from federal prison, Alamo was supervised by federal probation officials.

During his supervised release, Alamo allegedly got permission from the officer in charge of his case to travel from Arkansas to another state, the motion said. Alamo allegedly sexually assaulted a young girl on the trip, the motion states.

The jury selection process begins Monday in downtown Texarkana.

In: 2009 - (Trial year)

| Back to Top |
Want to help?

Click the button!

Post A Comment

Please note: All comments are moderated. There is no need to resubmit your comment. Please submit a well thought out post with proper punctuation and spelling, so that it can be reviewed and posted promptly (as space allows).

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.