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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended April 23, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 21Apr00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Man Freed in Missionary Murders Is Jailed in England for Gun Crime
Salt Lake Tribune 20Apr00 N1
By Kevin Cantera: Salt Lake Tribune

GRIMSBY, ENGLAND -- The man once convicted of killing two LDS missionaries in 1974 is back in jail, at least for now. Robert Elmer Kleasen was put in jail by Crown Court Judge Michael Heath on Wednesday until he can sentence Kleasen for four firearms charges.

Kleasen plead guilty to the charges on March 17th, but has been free on bail until recently, when he was caught trying to flee England. Judge Heath ruled that Kleasen is a flight risk and revoked bail. Kleasen, 67, faces up to 5 years in prison on illegal possession of weapons and ammunition.

Kleasen has a long history of violence and subsequent jail time, going back as far as the 1950s. He was convicted in 1976 of murdering Elder Mark Fischer and thought to have murdered Fischer's companion, Elder Gary Darley after they showed up for a dinner appointment with him on October 28, 1974. After spending two years on death row, Kleasen was released when the search warrant used to gain crucial evidence against him was ruled invalid.

He subsequently served 12 years in a New York prison for an earlier incident near Palmyra, New York, where he shot a neighbor in the foot. After he was released in 1990, Kleasen went to live in England.

"[Kleasen] learned to adjust to life in jail before; I assume he will again," said Atlanta attorney Ken Driggs, whose biography of Kleasen is due out in August. "One thing's for sure, his destructive impulses will be much more contained in that setting."

Recently, Texas prosecutors have talked of using DNA testing to re-open the case against Kleasen for the murders of Elders Fischer and Darley, using evidence that was not ruled inadmissable by the courts. However, Driggs points out that the case will be difficult to re-open because so much time has elapsed, "[Kleasen] has the right to a speedy trial," says Driggs.


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More about "Evil Among Us : The Texas Mormon Missionary Murders" by Ken Driggs at

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