6/18/11 – TG: High court denies Alamo’s relief petition

Texarkana Gazette
June 18, 2011
By: Lynn LaRowe

High court denies Alamo’s relief petition

Supreme Court this week denied Tony Alamo’s petition for post-conviction relief.

Alamo, whose given name is Bernie LaZar Hoffman, was convicted in 2009 of bringing five women he’d wed as children across state lines for sex. U.S. District Judge Harry Barnes sentenced the 76-year-old to 175 years in federal prison.

Little Rock attorney John Wesley Hall appealed the conviction. The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the appeal earlier this year, so Hall took the case to the nation’s highest court.

On Monday, a docket entry on the Supreme Court’s Website notes Alamo’s petition is denied.

Hall said he will continue to work to get Alamo’s sentence reduced or his conviction voided. But the evangelist’s options are narrowing.

Connor Eldridge, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, said his office is working to collect the $500,000 in restitution Barnes ordered Alamo to pay to each of the five victims and the $250,000 fine Alamo was ordered to pay the government.

“Our efforts to collect that restitution on behalf of the victims continue,” Eldridge said. “We will continue our efforts to locate assets of Mr. Hoffman and collect all we can for the victims.”

Alamo’s victims are not limited to the five women named in his criminal complaint.

Earlier this month, a jury seated to hear a civil suit awarded two men who were raised in Tony Alamo Christian Ministries $33 million each for the suffering they endured as children in the controversial ministry. Texarkana attorney David Carter represented Seth Calagna and Spencer Ondrisek in that suit, which named Alamo and his enforcer, John Kolbek, as defendants.

Kolbek’s case was severed from Alamo’s because Kolbek, a fugitive wanted for an alleged beating of Calagna, never answered the suit. Kolbek, who was ordered to pay the men $1.5 million each in a default judgment, died earlier this year on a rural farm in Kentucky.

Carter also has filed suit against ministry-run businesses and high-ranking ministry members. The five plaintiffs include an Alamo wife who left the ministry after the criminal case and a woman who was being groomed to be an Alamo wife when she ran away at 15 from ministry property in Fouke, Ark.

U.S. District Judge Paul K. Holmes III recently scheduled the case for trial in May 2012

In: 2011

| 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.