Criminal Law
March-April 2009

The longest sentence in Texas history

Prosecutors in Parker County thought that no case could shock them anymore—until they tried a defendant who sexually assaulted his three daughters over two years. Here’s how they won a conviction and got 40 stacked life sentences.

Robert S. DuBoise

Assistant District Attorney in Parker County

Kathleen Catania

Assistant District Attorney in Parker County

Like many of you, I’ve become jaded. The past nine years as a felony prosecutor has convinced me that an unending supply of humanity is willing to lie, cheat, steal, maim, or kill for the smallest reasons or for no reason at all. I had begun to think that my conscience could no longer be shocked, regardless of the facts and circumstances of any case I prosecuted.

I was wrong.

Phone call from CPS

On February 15, 2008, Investigator Robert Pawley of the Parker County Sheriff’s Department received a phone call from Child Protective Services regarding allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct by James Kevin Smith with his three teenage daughters. The allegations revolved around inappropriate sexual comments and Smith’s habit of “walking in” on the girls while they were showering. The CPS investigator invited Investigator Pawley to a local high school to interview the girls with her.

The investigators interviewed the girls separately, starting with the two 18-year-old twins, Jane and Joan, then their 16-year-old sister, Kate.1 Investigator Lapori conducted the interviews while Investigator Pawley observed, and in a stroke of wisdom, they taped the interviews using two separate recorders.2

Interview with Jane Smith

From the moment the interview with Jane Smith began, Investigator Paw-ley knew that this was not an ordinary case. Jane acknowledged almost immediately that she knew she was there because of her father. She said that he had been having her and Joan take naked pictures of each other on a digital camera and provide them to him as a form of punishment. The girls had initially refused his request, which began when the family lived in Iowa in 2005 and 2006, but Smith continued to ask until they finally relented.

From then on each time that she or her sister wanted permission to do something or got into trouble, Smith requested nude photographs, even after the family (minus their mother, Shelley, who was serving time in a federal penitentiary in Iowa) moved to Parker County in the spring of 2006, when the twins were 16. That summer, she and her sister violated Smith’s rules by having male friends over to the house while he wasn’t home. This time, the punishment escalated. Instead of naked pictures, Smith told the twins that they would have to perform oral sex on him as their punishment. Jane refused, but Joan gave in. (Later, as we met with the girls in preparation for trial, it became apparent to us that, as with most twins, the two had distinctive personalities. Jane had an independent rebellious streak, while Joan gave in to her father’s request because he was an authority figure and to gain acceptance from him.)

Throughout the summer Smith asked her to perform oral sex on him, and Jane continued to refuse but finally agreed to masturbate Smith to stop his repeated requests for oral sex. Smith made these requests each time Jane broke a house rule or whenever she wanted permission to go to a friend’s house or see a movie. These masturbatory incidents occurred off and on for weeks, during which Smith would digitally penetrate his daughter. By the end of summer she had begun performing oral sex on him, and he had begun doing the same to her.

Her sexual acts with Smith continued until February 2007 when her mother returned from prison. The sexual activity between Jane and Smith subsided for a short time, but it quickly resumed and occurred even when her mother was at home. In December 2007, Jane finally told her mother about the abuse, at which point Shelley Smith moved the girls to a relative’s house. Investigators were stunned to hear that the following day, Jane’s mother retrieved all three girls and moved them back into the house with Smith. Jane’s mother later told investigators that she returned the girls to the home only after Smith promised that he would never touch his daughters again. From that time forward, Smith left her alone, but he continued to abuse her sisters.

Interview with Joan

Investigators next interviewed Joan Smith, Jane’s twin sister. Joan corroborated her sister’s account of how the abuse began and confirmed that she too had engaged in inappropriate sexual contact with her father and had taken naked pictures of herself for him. However, the nature and extent of Joan’s sexual contact with Smith caught the investigators off guard.

Joan told investigators that, like her sister, her father made her engage in mutual oral sex with him. However, Smith also engaged her in vaginal and anal sex. As a further bombshell, beginning in August or September 2007, on several occasions, she and one of her sisters had engaged in a “threesome” with their own father, and on at least one occasion she and both sisters participated in a “four-way” sexual act with Smith. He had even been so bold as to engage in sexual contact with them while they visited his mother’s house in Amarillo over Christmas. Joan said that the most recent incident of sexual abuse occurred the Friday before the interview.

Interview with Kate

Kate, like her sisters, immediately knew that she was being interviewed regarding her father. She told investigators that when she was 13 and the family lived in Iowa, Smith asked her to perform oral sex on him as punishment. She refused but eventually agreed to manually masturbate him as a way of getting out of trouble. This abuse quickly progressed and Kate began performing oral sex on Smith and providing him with naked pictures of herself, just as her twin sisters had done.

After the family moved to Parker County, Kate and her father continued engaging in sexual acts, but they never had actual intercourse. Kate repeated what Joan had said, though, that on multiple occasions threesomes and foursomes had occurred.

In late 2007, Kate confided in Smith that she was no longer a virgin (she had had sex with a boyfriend her age), which prompted her father to ask Kate to have sex with him. Around this time, Kate told her mother about Smith’s abuse, and her mother immediately questioned the twins about whether Smith had abused them too. After learning that Smith had been abusing all three girls, Shelly Smith removed them from the home for one night—before allowing them to return and live with Smith.

Interview with the mother

After concluding the interview with all three girls, Investigators Pawley and Lapori interviewed Shelly Smith. She informed investigators that she was aware of the sexual abuse but that Smith had promised to stop, so she allowed him to remain in the home until February 12, 2008, when she discovered the abuse had continued.

With Shelly’s written consent to search the home, investigators removed her husband’s digital camera and two desktop computers for later forensic examination. During the search, Shelly claimed not to know where her husband was but that he might be staying with an aunt in Wylie.

That afternoon, Investigator Pawley contacted me and my trial partner, Kathleen Catania. We decided to seek an arrest warrant for Smith based on one count of sexual assault and to conduct a second round of more detailed interviews with the victims the following week to pinpoint the dates and details of each sexual offense.

Second interviews

On February 19, Investigator Anne Hollis of the Parker County Sheriff’s Department interviewed all three victims to determine, as closely as possible, the approximate dates of each of the different types of sexual acts. During these separate, 90-minute interviews, we discovered that 1) Smith repeatedly told his daughters not to tell anyone and that if they did, he would kill himself or he would go to prison where other prisoners would hurt him; 2) Smith told his daughters that what he was doing to them was their secret and that no one should know about it; 3) Smith promised he would stop the abuse when their mother was released from prison and moved to Parker County with the rest of the family; and 4) the girls agreed to take turns engaging in sexual acts with their father so that none of them would have to bear the full brunt of the sexual abuse.

Investigator Hollis put together a spreadsheet of the information from all three girls with regard to the type, frequency, and approximate dates of the sexual acts, a document that proved invaluable later in drafting the original indictments.

While Investigator Hollis was interviewing the girls, Investigator Pawley was obtaining an arrest warrant and setting up surveillance in Wylie. Having no luck locating Smith, Investigator Pawley returned to Parker County and interviewed Smith’s friend, who had made the original CPS report. At that interview, Investigator Pawley was stunned to hear that Shelly and the three girls had been at the friend’s house a day or two earlier to retrieve Smith’s work tools. Smith had come by the house to say goodbye to her and the girls and to tell them he was heading to his mother’s house in Amarillo. Investigator Pawley obtained written statements from both the friend and his girlfriend who had been present during Smith’s conversation with Shelly.

Shortly thereafter, CPS removed the three victims from their mother due to her continued failure to protect them from their abusive father. On that same day, Shelley told investigators that her husband was in an Amarillo hospital after an unsuccessful suicide attempt, so Investigator Pawley sent a teletype to the Amarillo Police Department to place a hold on Smith; once he was released, he was taken to jail, then transferred to Parker County. The APD also got consent from Smith’s mother to remove his laptop and numerous CD-Roms from her home.

Loose lips sink ships

An initial review of the digital camera’s memory card from Smith’s home contained several naked pictures of each of the three victims. These photos corroborated a portion of each girl’s account, but no photographs depicted Smith and his daughters engaged in any type of sexual contact. We sent the desktop computers seized from Smith’s home and the laptop from his mother’s house to the U.S. Secret Service for forensic analysis, which would take months. Little did we know that the best evidence in the entire case was about to come from Smith himself.

The Parker County Jail, like many other facilities, is equipped with a telephone monitoring system which records all inmate calls. At the beginning of each call, an announcement tells the inmate that “this call may be monitored and recorded.” One February day, Smith called his mother, Peggy, who asked why he had been arrested for sexually assaulting his daughter. Shockingly, Smith did not deny the abuse and answered, “I’m an idiot.” In a phone call later that same day with his brother, Smith stated that he was looking at spending the rest of his life in prison but notably never denied the conduct he was charged with. The following day, Smith again spoke to his mother, who stated that “Shelley knew about it back in December and did not report it—she may have blown the whistle on everything,” thus demonstrating some previous knowledge of his abuse toward her own granddaughters.

In addition to monitoring phone calls, the jail also keeps visitation logs. After seeing that Peggy had visited in early March, Investigator Pawley reviewed Smith’s phone calls in that time frame. In a call the day after the visit, Smith’s mother told him, “What you told me yesterday will never leave my lips.” Smith responded by saying that there was one thing he had forgotten to tell her in person: “They were never forced. I treated them like adults. We sat down and talked about it, and the decision was made. They were never forced.”

Shortly thereafter, Peggy talked to her son by phone and told him she had spoken to Richard Alley from Fort Worth, the court-appointed attorney, and told Alley that her understanding was that the “sexual acts had been going on for the past couple of years.” In that same phone call, she informed Smith that she had been served with a grand jury summons for later that month to testify “as to what I know.”

In a final phone call, taped at the end of March after he was indicted, Smith accurately summed up his situation to his mother in stating that “I’ve already screwed myself. If they want me to incriminate myself, I’ve already done that. I hope they’re recording this now. That’s how the system works. The system works to [expletive] me.”

Charging the defendant

Once Investigator Pawley officially filed his case report with our office, I sat down with Kathleen and our appellate attorney, Eddy Lewallen, to discuss the charges. Given the number of acts, we debated charging Smith with one count of sexual assault and one count of sexual performance by a child with respect to each victim to assure a lengthy sentence and simplify the proof at trial. After reviewing the entire file and the spreadsheet of sexual crimes, however, the tide began to turn. Determined not to give Smith any freebies for his crimes, we decided to charge him with each and every sexual assault supported by the evidence. For purposes of clarity, we further decided to prepare separate indictments for each of the three victims and to not charge lesser-included offenses, such as indecency by contact, that the indictment would typically contain. With that decision, we began the painstaking task of reviewing every interview, photograph, and statement to determine exactly what charges would be presented to the grand jury.

As an added kicker, on each of the sexual assault counts we decided to charge Smith using §22.011(f) of the Texas Penal Code, which makes sexual assault of a child a first-degree felony “if the victim was a person whom the actor was prohibited from marrying or purporting to marry or with whom the actor was prohibited from living under the appearance of being married under §25.01 [Bigamy].”3 Our legal research turned up no reported cases on this subsection, so we called Alana Minton and the rest of the legal gurus in neighboring Tarrant County. We decided that the extreme facts of this case justified charging Smith in this fashion, thus committing ourselves to proving Smith’s inability to marry any of his victims in the following respects: 1) he was already legally married; 2) they were his descendents by blood; 3) with respect to Kate, she was under 16 years of age in Texas; and 4) with respect to Jane and Joan, neither of them had received parental consent or permission from a court to marry Smith.4

We believed we had sufficient evidence to indict Smith for 15 counts of sexual assault of a child and one count of sexual performance by a child with respect to Jane Smith. With regard to her twin sister, Joan, an indictment with 16 counts of sexual assault of a child and one count of sexual performance by a child was prepared. As to the youngest daughter, Kate, we charged Smith with 11 counts of sexual assault of a child and one count of sexual performance by a child. We initially limited ourselves to one count of sexual performance of a child because we had not yet received the computer forensics report. We figured that if the case took a turn where we would require additional charges, we could always indict for the multiple child pornograph images that were ultimately found later.

After receiving the blessing of our elected district attorney, Don Schnebly, on our charging method, the case was presented to the grand jury on March 21, at which time Smith was indicted on all 45 counts.

Pretrial issues

Following indictment, our office immediately provided Smith’s attorney, Rick Alley, with discovery, but we made no plea offer before meeting with the victims.

That meeting with all three girls occurred in mid-April. We explained in detail each of the charges that Smith faced and interpreted the legalese into common language the girls understood. We purposefully did not discuss the details of the case but instead focused on building a relationship with the victims and making sure they knew Smith’s charges and range of punishment. At the conclusion of the meeting, we asked the victims what kind of punishment they wanted, and all three wanted Smith spent the rest of his life in prison. It became clear to Kathleen and me that all three girls, now removed from the abusive environment, had become angry at their father and had begun to realize the magnitude of what they had been through. We told the girls that we would do everything in our power to make sure that Smith spent the rest of his life in prison.

From that time forward, Kathleen and I prepared for an expeditious trial date. We filed a series of motions prior to arraignment, expecting that this case would be tried quickly. They included: 1) an unopposed motion to consolidate the cases for trial; 2) a notice of intent to request cumulative sentences; 3) a demand for discovery of expert witnesses; 4) motions in limine; 5) an order setting bond conditions for sex offenders; and 6) a motion to take expert witnesses on voir dire.

We made our first written plea offer to Mr. Alley in early May, requiring Smith to plead guilty to three counts of sexual assault of a child on Joan and two counts each of sexual assault of a child on Jane and Kate, with an agreement that a jury would assess punishment. In exchange, the State agreed to waive the remaining 38 counts spread among the three cases. The sticking point was Smith’s insistence that the State waive the right to ask the trial court to stack the sentences, which we steadfastly refused to do. Smith’s arraignment followed a few days later, at which both Mr. Alley and our office requested an expeditious special setting for this case. The court obliged with a June 23 trial date.

Pretrial discovery

We followed up on information that Smith had been investigated by Iowa CPS when the family lived there, and we learned that Smith had been under investigation for inappropriately touching his daughters by giving them “titty twisters.”5  Amaz-ingly, Iowa CPS had taken no action after Smith promised to quit his behavior. We also subpoenaed all Texas CPS records relating to this case and any others, but this was the first time Texas CPS had investigated Smith.

Additional subpoenas were sent to the medical providers in Amarillo who treated Smith after his failed suicide attempt. We thought it may become necessary at trial to show that Smith’s guilt from sexually molesting his daughters was what prompted his suicide attempt.

About 30 days before trial, our office had still not received the forensic report from the Secret Service, so we set up an appointment to meet with the forensic examiner and invited defense counsel to attend. Special Agent John Day of the Secret Service demonstrated the process used to examine Smith’s computers and provided an initial report generated by Encase (a forensic computer examination program) confirming that the memory card from the digital camera and the desktop computer removed from the home contained pornographic images of each of our three victims. Special Agent Day also informed us that the laptop computer recovered in Amarillo contained hundreds of images of scantily clad female children. Again, a copy of the materials and the report, excluding the actual images of child porn, were provided to Mr. Alley, and we issued a standing invitation to him (or his experts) to view the balance of the images in our offices at any time. Kathleen and I spent much of the next week visiting and cataloging images from the various websites that Smith visited and listing them in the forensic report.

On June 2, we prepared and sent out our final written discovery in this case. It contained a list of fact and expert witnesses and notice of prior bad acts and extraneous offenses. Even though Smith had no prior run-ins with law enforcement, the notice went on for 24 single-spaced pages. This time, instead of neglecting lesser-included offenses to those contained in the indictment, we took pains to ensure that each and every sexual assault, indecency by contact, indecency by exposure, possession of child pornography and sexual performance by a child that was not expressly pled in the indictment was listed as an extraneous bad act. In addition, we designated 28 fact witnesses, including Smith’s mother and brother, and expert witnesses on the topics of computer forensics and sex offender treatment.

Preparing victims for trial

Kathleen and I had been struggling to find a suitable method to present all of the charges in the indictment and the evidence supporting each charge to the jury. Ultimately, we purchased a 4×6-foot display board printed with a 12-month calendar. Over these boards, we placed three transparent plastic overlays, one for each victim. Our plan was that as each witness testified, we would summarize the testimony on the appropriate overlay, using a different color marker for each girl. After all three had testified, the three overlays would be taped to the calendar board and admitted as a demonstrative aid.

Two weeks before trial, we invited Jane, Joan, and Kate into our offices to prepare for trial. This time, instead of coming in together, each girl came by herself. Kathleen handled the bulk of each interview as we figured the girls would be more comfortable discussing intimate details with a woman—plus, Kathleen is a remarkably talented prosecutor who bonds easily with victims of sexual abuse. Perhaps the most difficult portion of these meetings was that, for the first time, we asked the girls to view the pictures Smith had taken and to identify which pictures were of which girl (faces were not visible in all of them). At times, each of the girls became emotional, but they never quit on us.

All three girls were nervous about appearing in court and we spent extensive time discussing the mechanics of testifying. We took each girl into the courtroom to sit on the witness stand and answer questions. We showed them the large calendars so that they would not see them for the first time at trial. At the end of these three emotionally draining meetings, Kathleen and I knew that not only would these girls be able to testify, but that they would be the stars of trial.

Each fact witness was either interviewed by phone or brought into our office. Two identical sets of trial notebooks were prepared; they contained every pleading, letter, interview summary, witness note, and every other document for this case. In fact, we worried that we had overdone it when a coworker remarked, “You look like you’re getting ready for a civil trial.”

Voir dire

Typically, in Parker County, the district clerk summons 150 people for a felony venire panel, and 60 to 70 actually appear. In this case, the parties requested a summons for 300 people. As Kathleen and I sat waiting, I had butterflies in my stomach for the first time in a long while. I had never conducted voir dire on a panel this size, and we knew picking this jury hinged on one issue: Could we qualify this panel on the entire range of punishment, from probation to life in prison, on a man charged with 45 counts of sexual abuse of a minor?

On the first day, I spent about five hours conducting my voir dire, about half of which was spent on the enhancement when the defendant cannot marry his victim. The jurors did not question the origins of the enhancement language and seemed to accept the fact that punishment was greater in these situtaitons. I threw out hypothetical after hypothetical of scenarios fitting the elements of first-degree sexual assault of a child, everything from the high-school senior boy who takes his freshman girlfriend to prom and has sex with her, to the pedophile who lures an endless string of children off the streets by the local middle school—but which differed in terms of the punishment that might be assessed. Around my sixth hypothetical, Smith’s attorney objected and the court instructed me to move on, but I felt that I laid the foundation for the questions to follow. Several jurors still answered that that they could not under any circumstances consider probation for sexual assault of a child, and we struck them for cause. However, the majority who spoke said that given one of the fact situations discussed earlier, they could fairly consider the full range of punishment. In total, only about 10 percent of the panelists were excused for cause. Notably, not a single juror had a problem with the higher range of punishment.

The following day, Mr. Alley and his co-counsel, James Wilson, began their voir dire. They quickly re-examined the range of punishment issue, approaching the subject in every conceivable way. Many on the panel referenced the hypotheticals from the prior day and stated there were fact scenarios where they could consider the full range of punishment. In total, another 10 percent of the panel gave responses disqualifying them for cause on this issue. A jury was quickly chosen from the remaining panel, and trial began on Wednesday, June 25.

The trial

Kathleen began the State’s case with an opening statement discussing bedtime routines for children, how they might go to their parents or their parents might come to them to say goodnight and give a kiss. In a way that only a talented prosecutor can do, she wove that innocent routine into the facts of this case.

She laid out for the jury that the nightly routine in the Smith house was a little different. It centered on which daughter Smith would “tap on the shoulder” to come to his bedroom to be sexually assaulted. After describing an instance of “four-way sex” between Smith and all of his daughters, Kathleen summed it all up with this:

“So what does this all have to do with the defendant? This defendant is the biological father of Jane, Joan, and Kate Smith. The act that I just described was neither the first nor last act of sexual abuse committed by this father against his daughters. By indictment, the State has charged this father with 45 counts of sexual assault and sexual performance of a child with his daughters. Throughout the next week, the State of Texas will prove each and every count to you beyond a reasonable doubt.”
As she finished and returned to her seat, several jurors were visibly shaken while others glared at Smith. Defense counsel Rick Alley, perhaps sensing that now would not be the optimum moment to present his client’s story, wisely reserved making his opening statement.

We began calling our witnesses and laying out the case for the jury. Having experienced both the highs and lows of calling officers as witnesses, I cannot even begin to speak highly enough of the job Investiga-tor Pawley did on the stand. While describing Smith’s sexual abuse of the girls, Pawley teared up. He immediately apologized to the jury for the display of emotion, stating this was difficult for him because he had a teenage daughter. Over the next several days, CPS investigators, Smith’s friends, Smith’s wife, counselors, and others took the stand.

The next witness of note was Peggy, Smith’s mother, through whom we introduced the jail phone calls. Smith’s mother maintained she knew her son had done something wrong, but she did not know, and he never told her, exactly what he had done. In fact, she went as far as to state that she wasn’t even sure that these allegations involved her granddaughters. Eventually, I let her leave the stand, convinced that the phone conversations adequately spoke volumes about what Smith had truly done to his daughters and that she was not being wholly honest about what she knew.

Kathleen and I both knew that regardless of what witnesses we presented, the jury really wanted to hear from only three people: Jane, Joan and Kate. Having tried several of these cases in the past, I am always amazed at the bravery and fortitude exhibited by victims of sexual abuse when called to testify. These three were no different.

As each of the girls was called to the witness stand, what struck me first was that they refused to look in their father’s direction. As one might expect, each of the girls became emotional from time to time during their testimony. Sometimes it occurred during direct examination and sometimes during Mr. Alley’s cross-examinations, but always when they had to identify exhibits containing pictures they took of themselves for their father. Perhaps most importantly, at least to me, was that none of them ever lost their temper with Mr. Alley or treated him any differently than they treated Kathleen and me.

During the girls’ direct examinations, as one of us questioned the witness, the other prosecutor summarized her testimony on the proper clear overlay on the calendar, making sure we used a different color marker for each girl. At the end of each girl’s testimony, we would have them examine the summary and state whether it was accurate, then the summary would be admitted into evidence. Individually, each overlay was little more than a chart with colored writing. However, when all three were put together it became the most powerful exhibit in the trial—with one or more of the three colors covering virtually every week from July 2006 until January 2008.

We finally rested our case on June 30. At that time, defense counsel asked that the State elect which evidence we were relying on to support each specific allegation. Fortunately, we had expected such a request and had spent prior evenings reviewing the testimony and charts and matching them to the indictment. At the end of our review, we determined that for appeal purposes we would waive two counts alleging mutual oral sex between Kate and Joan. At trial, Joan stated that these acts had occurred; however, Kate, for reasons unknown to us, could not admit that she had engaged in sexual acts with her sister.

In closing, Kathleen and I spoke about the evidence that had been presented and the bravery of the girls in coming forward to testify against their own father. We harped on the fact that Smith admitted sexually abusing his daughters to his wife and his mother in those jail phone calls. In the end, we asked the jury to convict him of 40 counts of sexual assault of a child and three counts of sexual performance by a child.

Verdict and punishment

Several hours later, the jury returned with their verdicts: guilty on all 43 counts. The court immediately began a punishment hearing, and we called two witnesses: the U.S. Secret Service agent to talk about the child erotica on Smith’s computers, and the maternal grandfather of the girls, with whom they now live, to talk about the effect of Smith’s abuse. After Mr. Alley presented several character witnesses for his client, both sides rested and closed. Following a brief closing argument in which Kathleen and I urged the jury to assess the maximum punishment on each of the 43 counts, the jury was again given the case.

After deliberating for two hours, the jury returned. The magnitude of what was occurring first struck us as the judge began to read the jury’s verdicts: The jury returned life sentences on each of the 40 counts of sexual assault of a child and the maximum of 20 years on the three counts of sexual performance by a child. In addition, to drive home the point, the jury fined Smith the maximum $10,000 on all 43 counts. Pursuant to the notice that we had filed earlier, we asked the judge to stack all of the sentences, and he did so without hesitation. Forty life sentences plus 60 years. We believe it’s the longest sentence in Texas history.

I have had verdicts where I’ve gotten a call from the local news affiliate or newspaper for a quote or summary, but I’d never experienced anything like the day after this trial. I did a series of television and radio interviews the rest of that day (Kathleen won’t talk to the media to save her life). High school and college friends from around the country called to say they saw me on CNN. To be honest, it was exciting. However, if anyone were to ask me my favorite part of that day, it would be the moment that Kathleen and I called Jane, Joan, and Kate and told them that not only did the jury believe what they had to say, but that Smith would be in prison for the rest of his life. I felt like Kathleen and I had kept our promise to the girls that we would do everything within our power to bring justice on their behalf.

At the end of the day, Kathleen and I were the ones in the spotlight, but we truly are only standing upon the excellent work done by law enforcement and the CPS investigators in this case. I’d love to claim all of the legal strategy in this case was our own, but it belongs to the prosecutors, both in our office and throughout the State, that took the time to speak to us and answer our multitude of questions.

As for Jane, Joan and Kate: The twins graduated from high school in the summer of 2008 and have taken a year off before starting college. Kate is on track to graduate on time. All still currently reside with their grandfather. ✤


1 To protect the anonymity of the three victims of this case, the names of the defendant and victims have been changed.
2 In preparing for trial, we noticed that each recording included some inaudible portions, so both recordings were necessary to prepare accurate summaries of the interviews.
3 This enhancement was created in 2005 to address the alleged practices of polygamists who had recently relocated to Eldorado, the same group whose compound was raided in 2008 by CPS and other state and federal agencies.
4 Although the last three factors in this list are unrelated to bigamy, which is concerned only with multiple marriages, we raised these factors during trial to pre-emptively bolster the sentences against future attack on appeal.
5 A “titty twister” is when someone grabs another’s nipple and twists it.