9/22/10 – TG: Alamo defense, prosecutors go head to head in court again

Texarkana Gazette
September 22, 2010
By: Lynn LaRowe

Alamo defense, prosecutors go head to head in court again

Lawyers on both sides of convicted evangelist Tony Alamo’s appeal faced off Tuesday in St. Louis before three justices of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeal.

Alamo’s defense attorney, John Wesley Hall Jr. of Little Rock, told Justices Kermit Bye, C. Arlen Beam and Lavenski Smith that Alamo deserves a new trial or, at the very least, to be resentenced by a different judge.

“Even a properly instructed jury sometimes gets it wrong and this is one of those cases,” Hall said.

Hall described as speculation the jury’s conviction of Alamo on all 10 counts in a federal indictment alleging the transportation of five young women he wed as children across state lines for sex. Hall said some of the counts weren’t supported by enough evidence, and the 10 guilty verdicts were proof the jury was tainted by something besides the facts of the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Kyra Jenner told the court there was no need for speculation.

“The record is replete with the testimony of these five young women who made it very clear that Mr. Alamo had one reason for having them in his company and that was to be his sexual companions,” Jenner said.

Hall argued Alamo wasn’t present on some of the trips taken by the victims and that sex was incidental to the travel and not a dominant purpose as the law requires.

“The inescapable fact here is that all of these young girls were under the complete control of the defendant,” Jenner said. “He controlled how they moved, he controlled what they ate, he placed them on fasts to punish them, he controlled where they could go … .”

Hall argued even if Alamo’s convictions are affirmed his sentence should be overturned because of statements made by U.S. District Judge Harry Barnes. After Barnes sentenced Alamo to the maximum on each count consecutively, a 175-year term, he told Alamo he would some day face a judge with higher and greater authority.

“May he have mercy on your soul,” Barnes said.

“It was within the range but when he made that comment he made it sound like, ‘I’m making it as hard on you as I can but somebody else can have mercy on you later,’” Hall said.

Jenner argued Barnes relied on federal sentencing guidelines and not on his own sense of religion.

In: 2010

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