CRIME WATCH

Leader of Knights of the Crystal Blade Speaks Exclusively From Behind Bars

Aug 9, 2018, 12:15 PM

MANTI, Utah — A doomsday cult leader told a judge Wednesday he was following “heavenly laws” when he took a 7-year-old child as his bride last year.

John Alvin Coltharp, 34, expressed no regret for sexually abusing the girl. Instead, he said he is Jacob from the Old Testament, among other biblical figures, and has returned to earth to promote child marriage.

Family members of the child could be seen cringing in the courtroom as he spoke in Manti’s 6th District Court.

Judge Marvin Bagley told Coltharp his beliefs are wrong and not attributable to the Bible, and that he is a risk of abusing others. The judge issued what he said was the maximum prison sentence possible: at least 26 years and up to life in prison, adding he hopes Coltharp never is released.

Coltharp earlier in the hearing issued a warning that society is out of line with God’s will and governments soon will be overthrown, telling Bagley that it doesn’t matter how long he goes to prison because society won’t last much longer.

“We’re living at a time before the second coming of Christ, where the majority is going down the wrong road,” Coltharp said. “And so if I’m judged by majority standards, by people who profess to believe in the scriptures and in those prophesies, I hope they would take that into account.”

John Coltharp

In June, he pleaded guilty to child sodomy, a first-degree felony, and child bigamy, a second-degree felony. In exchange, and as part of a plea deal with prosecutors, charges in a second, related Sanpete County case were dismissed. The dropped charges are: child kidnapping, a first-degree felony, and obstructing justice, a second-degree felony.

Prosecutors say Coltharp led a doomsday cult, identified as the Knights of the Crystal Blade, with Samuel Warren Shaffer, 35, of Cedar City. They have described the religious group as a “fundamentalist group for millennials” that formed online.

In September, Shaffer and Coltharp disappeared with their children, later saying they took each other’s daughters as underage brides. A December Amber Alert helped investigators find Coltharp’s daughters, ages 5 and 7, and Shaffer’s daughters, ages 4 and 8, in freezing temperatures. Two were hidden in plastic barrels and two in an abandoned mobile home in remote Iron County.

Shaffer’s abuse of the girl he considered his bride played a role in Coltharp’s fate. The judge Wednesday said Coltharp should be punished for subjecting his own daughter to Shaffer.

Sanpete County Attorney Kevin Daniels said Wednesday that the children suffered so much, he wishes the death penalty had been an option. He said the girls will struggle for the rest of their lives.

“If he wants to be a martyr,” Daniels said of Coltharp after the hearing, “I am more than happy to fill the role of the individual who drops the sword on his head.”

Also after the hearing, the victims’ grandfather noted that Coltharp has always been “very controlling, very manipulative,” but the family had no idea of the “depth of his depravity.”

“It’s nice to know that most likely he will be spending the rest of his life in prison, and we hope that it is very, very uncomfortable for him,” he said.

Robert Shane Roe, 35, of Castro, California, an alleged follower of the group, has also been charged with child sodomy. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 19.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Crime Watch

(SLC POLICE)...
Eliza Pace, KSL TV

Officers recover many dangerous weapons in DUI arrest

Police officers discovered multiple dangerous and illegal weapons following the arrest of a man accused of driving under the influence Monday.
7 months ago
...
Eliza Pace & Ladd Egan, KSL TV

Day care closed for meth contamination after child pornography charges

A daycare in Sandy has been closed by the Salt Lake County Health Department after a search revealed methamphetamine contamination, after two of its employees faced child pornography charges.
7 months ago
FILE PHOTO...
Eliza Pace, KSL TV

Man rams two police cars after fleeing a robbery

A man hit a two police cars in a chase as he and another suspect fled from burglarizing a construction site Wednesday morning.
7 months ago
shiny car for sale in summer weather, parked with a red vibrant color exterior....
Matt Gephardt & Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Gephardt: Vehicle History Report Scam Targets People Selling Cars In Online Classifieds

A vehicle history report has become a big part of the used-car buying process. But now, thieves are using these reports to trick people into handing over their cash, and their identities.
2 years ago
...
Andrew Adams

Company: More Than $200,000 In Camera Equipment Stolen In West Valley Warehouse Theft

A digital production firm offered a hefty reward Tuesday after more than $200,000 in camera equipment vanished from a warehouse over the weekend.
3 years ago
...
Jed Boal, KSL TV

Man Speaks Out After Being Assaulted In Possible Hate Crime

A gay man, who shot video of his own attack, wants justice after he was verbally and physically assaulted outside a Main Street bar in Salt Lake City Saturday night.
3 years ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Leader of Knights of the Crystal Blade Speaks Exclusively From Behind Bars