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New Wayne Bent Video: “Return to Castle Dome”

Return to Castle Dome

In an effort to better understand the story that is Wayne Bent and his Lord of Righteousness church (also known as the Strong City cult), I recently spent a day at one of the church’s previous living sites:  a remote area called Castle Dome located more than an hour’s drive north of Yuma, Arizona.

During my visit, I interviewed two former LOR members.

 

Part 2 of Return to Castle Dome is now available.

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Bent wants trial moved to Taos County

PRE-TRIAL CONFERENCE MOVED FORWARD ONE WEEK
Updated @ 11:30am PST, 8/8/08))

Amended Motion for Change of Venue (page 1)
Amended Motion for Change of Venue (page 1)
Ammended Motion for Change of Venue (page 2)
Amended Motion for Change of Venue (page 2)


In her Amended Motion for Change of Venue filed at 11:47am MST today, Wayne Bent’s attorney, Sarah M. Montoya, has asked that her client’s trial be moved to Taos County:

Defendant Wayne Bent, through his attorney, moves the Court to change the venue of this case to Taos County, where publicity will not taint the trial of the above entitled matter.

***

( August 8 ) A pre-trial conference in the state of New Mexico’s child sex crimes case against church leader Wayne Bent (aka Michael Travesser) has been moved forward one week.

Order to Vacate and Reset Hearing
Order to Vacate and Reset Hearing

According to an Order to Vacate and Reset Hearing signed by Judge Gerald E. Baca and filed in the Eighth Judicial District Court late Thursday afternoon, the court date is now scheduled for Tuesday, August 12 at 2:30pm.

The hearing had previously been scheduled for August 19.

A pretrial conference may be conducted for several reasons. *Pretrial conferences may be held to:

(1) expedite disposition of the case,

(2) help the court establish managerial control over the case,

(3) discourage wasteful pretrial activities,

(4) improve the quality of the trial with thorough preparation, and

(5) facilitate a settlement of the case.

Beyond90Seconds.com has also learned that Bent feels he can’t get a fair trial in Union and Colfax Counties.  A Motion for Change of Venue filed by his lawyer August 1, states:

As grounds for this motion, Defendant shows to the court that there has been substantial pretrial publicity in Union and Colfax Counties, regarding the issues in this case and it is the belief of this defendant that it will be difficult, if not impossible, to select a fair and impartial jury to try this case in either Union or Colfax Counties and therefore that this defendant cannot obtain a fair trial in these counties due to pretrial publicity.

Original Change of Venue Motion filing (page 1)
Original Change of Venue Motion filing (page 1)

Original Change of Venue Motion filing (page 2)
Original Change of Venue Motion filing (page 2)

(*source: answers.com)

(Read the Beyond90Seconds.com archives on the Wayne Bent case here.)

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DA: Bent has “50/50” chance of 2008 trial date (PODCAST)

Donald Gallegos mp3
Donald Gallegos mp3

In a phone interview with Beyond90Seconds.com this morning, District Attorney Donald Gallegos said it’s possible the criminal case against controversial church leader Wayne Bent may not take place this year.  Pressed for a prediction, Gallegos said he feels that there is a “50/50” chance the trial will get underway in 2008.

Donald Gallegos  iTunes
Donald Gallegos iTunes

If the Bent trial is pushed to 2009, expect a new judge to be assigned to the case.  Learn the reason why in the Beyond90Seconds.com podcast interview with Gallegos.

While Gallegos explained that he could not discuss specifics concerning the State’s case against Wayne Bent (yes, that certainly includes evidence), he did provide several insights into the legal process, especially factors that could affect a trial date.

Gallegos stressed that the State is ready to go to trial and that the alleged victims are ready, too.

On May 20, a grand jury indicted Bent on four counts: two counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor in the second degree, unclothed. And two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

TODAY’S *PODCAST (Total run time is 12:39)

*In my introductory remarks in today’s podcast, I reference the British documentary, The End of the World Cult.  If you’d like to watch it, you may do so below:

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Bent court date Friday; no confirmation that State returned “Healed” to parents

Update: (July 18 ) Judge sets Wayne Bent’s bond at $150,000

(July 17)  If you’ve spent time following any criminal or civil case, you know it’s not uncommon for court dates to change.  But a a check with New Mexico’s Union County District Court Clerk this morning confirmed that controversial church leader Wayne Bent (aka Michael Travesser) is still scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow (Friday) at 10:30am in Raton.

In May, a grand jury indicted Bent on two counts of second-degree sexual contact with a minor and two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

This case could get even more interesting tomorrow as Bent recently proclaimed his vow of silence. In a July 1 post on his Web site, Bent wrote:

I will write no more, speak no more, or listen to you no more.  Not until the children are released from their prisons will you ever hear from me or us again.

Soon after his vow of silence, Bent and his followers took their Web site (Strongcity.info) off-line. Members of the church also took down their videos and posts that had been on myspace and youtube.

Bent’s resolve–as declared in that July 1 post–appeared unwavering:

Go ahead and charge me with contempt.  When you prove yourself not contemptible I will speak with you, but now the God of heaven holds you in contempt, for your deeds are exceedingly evil and grossly perverted.

On this arraignment eve (a hearing that is also scheduled to address Bent’s conditions of release), one must wonder if Bent will speak in court tomorrow.  That’s assuming he appears.

It could all make for an interesting hearing Friday before Judge Gerald E. Baca.

NO CONFIRMATION THAT STATE RETURNED “HEALED” TO PARENTS

Beyond90Seconds.com has received an unconfirmed report that the State of New Mexico has returned 16-year-old Lakeisha Sayer (aka “Healed”) to her parents.  State Police removed the teenager from Bent’s “Strong City” church property on April 22.

A source tells me that Lakeisha Sayer was returned to John and Elsa Sayer on Monday, July 14 following a court decision in Raton late last week.

Hoping to confirm the report, I called the Union County Courthouse this morning.  A court employee told me she could not comment about the matter because the case is sequestered.

Finally, I have two additional legal document to share with you.  As many of you know, two judges had been excused from this case.  I’m posting the Notice of Excusals for Judge John M. Paternoster and Judge Sam B. Sanchez below (both are dated May 21):

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IMPORTANT UPDATE: Arraignment date set for Wayne Bent

Update: (July 18 ) Judge sets Wayne Bent’s bond at $150,000

(At about 12:30pm PST on July 10, Beyond90Seconds.com first reported that an arraignment date had just been set for the Wayne Bent case.  Less than an hour later, the arraignment date had been rescheduled.  This story has been updated to include the new arraignment date.)

At 1:04pm PST Beyond90Seconds.com leaned that the arraignment date for the Wayne Bent case has been changed.

Union County District Court Clerk Karen Vieites reports that the arraignment is now scheduled for Friday,  July 18 at 10:30am in Raton.

Earlier today, the arraignment date had been set for July 14 in Clayton.  Again, the date has been changed to July 18 in Raton.

On May 20, a grand jury indicted Bent on four counts: two counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor in the second degree, unclothed. And two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Judge Gerald E. Baca will preside over the July 18 arraignment. The hearing is also scheduled to address Bent’s conditions of release.

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Bent’s Web site, “New Mexico returns Willow”

Update (July 17): This is a second version of the Strong City video concerning Willow’s return home.  It runs 3:35, just over a minute longer than the earlier version:

Update (June 18): The following video of Willow’s return to the Strong City church property in northeastern New Mexico was posted on youtube today (runs 2:42):


Update: Associated Press updates its story with a correction.
Update: LOR’s Web site has posted video of child’s return to Strong City.
Update: Here is a link to an Associated Press article published in The Las Cruces Sun-News.

(June 17, 10:41am PST) From the Web site of The Lord Our Righteousness church leader Wayne Bent:

At 10:32 A.M. today, Tuesday June 17th, the case for Willow Dawn Travesser was dismissed by the State of New Mexico, and Willow was released out of State custody back to her parents. She is on her way home now, and will come to Strong City for a meal with the family. My fast will end today when I see her face.

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