Jacqueline Tarsa LeBaron, 44, stood before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mary Milloy in a blue blouse and floor-length skirt and told the judge she thinks the judge and prosecutor are nice and she hopes her appointed attorney is nice as well.
LeBaron, a fugitive since 1992, said she is a Mexican citizen and was living in Honduras when she was arrested. She faces charges including conspiracy to commit murder for hire, conspiracy to tamper with a witness, murder for hire and obstruction of religious beliefs. The maximum possible penalty would be life in prison plus five years.
LeBaron is the daughter of Ervil LeBaron, who led an infamous polygamous sect called the Church of the Lamb of God. Ervil LeBaron died in 1981. He was imprisoned in the 1970s for ordering the murder of his brother. He also authored a book which said sect members who broke its rules would be sentenced to death, according to the FBI.
In 1988, three church members and a member’s 8-year-old daughter were slain simultaneously in Houston and Irving, Texas, for breaking church commandments and trying to leave the church, according to the FBI, which arrested Jacqueline Tarsa LeBaron.
Five LeBaron family members were convicted of participating in the murder plot, but Jacqueline Tarsa LeBaron evaded custody until Thursday.
She is due back in court Wednesday for a hearing on whether she will remain in custody pending trial. Prosecutor Terry Clark said this morning that the government believes she is a flight risk and will ask she be detained.
In court this morning she said she needs her new psychiatric medicine. She also told the judge that she has a GED and 18 months of beauty college and that she likes Hondurans and Anglos. She started to complain about her due process but the judge said she should speak to a lawyer before making statements.
Because the Houston federal public defenders office handled the case of one of her co-defendants, if it is determined that she has no resources, Jacqueline Tarsa LeBaron will likely be appointed counsel from outside the public defenders office.
The FBI said they believe many of Ervil LeBaron’s more than 50 children still follow their father’s teachings.
An FBI statement said that acting on a tip, the FBI located her in Moroceli, El Paraisio, Honduras. The FBI said her arrest was ultimately accomplished with the help of the FBI Legal Attache' Office in El Salvador, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Interpol and the U. S. Consulate in Honduras.