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
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,"