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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended June 11, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 12Jun00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Suspect in Missionary Deaths Sentenced for Gun Violations
Salt Lake Tribune 10Jun00 D2
By Kevin Cantera: Salt Lake Tribune

GRIMSBY, ENGLAND -- Robert Elmer Kleasen, once convicted of murdering two LDS missionaries in 1974 and sentenced to death, was again convicted on Friday on weapons violations and sentenced to 3 years in prison. Kleasen's 1974 conviction was overturned when a search warrant was held invalid, but last year Police in England discovered his cache of illegal weapons and arrested him again.

Judge Michael Heath, who sentenced Kleasen, told him at sentencing Friday, "You are an intelligent but devious man. I consider your continued presence in this country to be potentially detrimental. . . . You are likely to commit further offenses." The judge went on to say he would recommend to the British Home Office that Kleasen be deported after serving his time.

But Kleasen may return to the US earlier if prosecutors in Travis County, Texas have their way. They are seeking new evidence, including potential DNA analysis of evidence that Texas already has, to re-try Kleasen for the 1974 murders of Elders Gary Smith Darley, 20, and Mark Fischer, 19. The two Elders disappeared on Oct. 28, 1974, the day they were scheduled to eat dinner with Kleasen.

That and other circumstantial evidence indicates that Kleasen, who had joined the LDS Church in Austin in 1973, murdered the two Elders. And after investigators discovered a blood-spattered watch belonging to Fischer in Kleasen's trailer, a jury convicted Kleasen of Fischer's murder and sentenced him to the death penalty. But the search warrant that turned up the watch was later ruled invalid, and Kleasen was released.

Travis County prosecutor Rosemary Lehmberg says that they are still trying to see if they can get enough evidence to convict Kleasen, "We have located a surprising amount of the original evidence," she said. "The issue of DNA and other forensic work is still in the process of being examined." Among the evidence thay may be available is bloody clothing found in a trash can outside Kleasen's trailer, which may tie Kleasen to one or both missionaries.

The story of Kleasen and the murder of the two LDS missionaries will make its debut in book form later this summer as Signature books releases a book by Ken Driggs, "Evil Among Us : The Texas Mormon Missionary Murders"


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See also:

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

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