ALL the News about
Mormons, Mormonism
and the LDS Church
Mormon News: All the News about Mormons, Mormonism and the LDS Church
For week ended March 19, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
Most Recent Week
Front Page
Local News
Arts & Entertainment
·New Products
·New Websites
·Mormon Stock Index
Letters to Editor
Continuing Coverage of:
Boston Temple
School Prayer
Julie on MTV
Robert Elmer Kleasen
About Mormon News
News by E-Mail
Weekly Summary
Submitting News
Submitting Press Releases
Volunteer Positions
Bad Link?

News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 16Mar00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Man Convicted Of Slaying LDS Missionaries In 1974 Faces English Charges
Salt Lake Tribune 16Mar00 D2
By Kevin Cantera: Salt Lake Tribune

GRIMSBY, ENGLAND -- Robert Elmer Kleasen, once convicted of killing two LDS missionaries, will face charged Friday in a British court for lying to police when he applied for a gun dealer's license. Kleasen, a U. S. citizen and former LDS Church member, spent time on Texas' death row for the murder of Elder Mark Fischer and Elder Gary Darley in 1974. Released when a search warrant was declared invalid, Kleasen spent 15 years in prison for gun charges in New York. When he was released, Kleasen went to England.

If convicted of the latest charges, Kleasen will likely be deported to the United States. Kleasen's latest brush with the law came to light last September, when English authorities became suspicious of Kleasen and forwarded his fingerprints to the International Police organization Interpol. Interpol discovered Kleasen's Wayne county, New York police record and forwarded it to the English authorities.

While the charges do carry a possible 5-year prison sentence, if found guilty Kleasen will most likely be deported to the U.S. as a free man. "If he's a criminal, we don't want him," said Andrew Horner, the prosecuting attorney with Crown Prosecution Services in Grimsby, England who will try the case against Kleasen.

Before he murdered the LDS missionaries in 1974, Kleasen had a long record with New York police. After meeting LDS missionaries both in New York and Denmark, Kleasen moved to Austin, Texas, where he joined the LDS Church. He invited the missionaries to his trailer in 1974, and claims that they never showed up for dinner. Kleasen still maintains he is innocent of their murders.

But police found a bloody watch belonging to Elder Fischer and his missionary name tag punctured by a bullet hole. In 1975, Kleasen was convicted of the murder, the jury taking just 20 minutes to deliberate the finding. After he spent two years on death row, an appeals court threw out the search warrant that tied him to the missionaries. "We didn't just throw up our hands . . . We went down every avenue we could think of," said Phil Nelson, an assistant district attorney in Travis County, Texas who helped build the case against Kleasen. "We needed something to tie [Kleasen] to the missionaries, and the only thing we had was ruled inadmissable."

Kleasen was then convicted of firearm violations and assault charges in Wayne County, New York from a 1971 incident in which he shot a man near Palmyra, New York. After 15 years in prison, he went to England, and after six years there, applied to be a gun dealer. Kleasen will enter a plea on Friday in Crown Court in Grimsby.

Investigators in England are still not sure why Kleasen was given a gun dealer permit. "Normally there's a quite thorough investigation when one applies for a gun permit," said Horner. "There's a big question how much checking was done in this case." But authorities admit that they don't do as much checking on foreigners.


[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information