Winston Blackmore attends court to file an application separating his polygamy trial from his co-accused James Oler. (Trevor Crawley/Cranbrook Townsman)

Marriage records entered in Bountiful polygamy trial

Special prosecutor identifies religious documents indicating Winston Blackmore and James Oler participated in multiple marriages

A Texas Ranger who was part of a team that seized religious documents at a ranch in the U.S. took to the stand in the trial of two members of a polygamous sect south of Creston on Wednesday in Cranbrook.

Winston Blackmore and James Oler, both members of Bountiful, are on trial facing polygamy charges that were filed in August 2014 by a special prosecutor.

Ranger Nick Hanna and US law enforcement executed a search warrant on the Yearning For Zion (YFZ) ranch in Eldorado, Texas in April 2008. The raid was initially based on the report of a sexual assault, however, after investigators spent three days on the property, the warrant was expanded, according to Hanna.

During the Eldorado raid, Texas Rangers seized over 300 boxes of evidence, including marriage and priesthood records for members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the U.S. and Canada that were locked away inside a concrete vault.

Hanna described how tight security was at the YFZ ranch, as it was in a remote location and fenced around the perimeter at 12 feet high, while the main temple building was also fenced with a barrier taller than six feet.

Inside the temple, the temple annex was locked with thick oak doors, while the temple vault was encased with concrete that took a locksmith expert over 24 hours to defeat the mechanism.

“It was just a series of obstacles put in place by the FLDS to ensure the security of the documents [inside],” said Hanna.

Instead of going through the vault door, law enforcement ended up entering the vault by drilling through the side wall, with a Ranger gaining access through a small hole, where he seized documents in bank boxes kept in cabinet drawers.

After the documents were seized and catalogued, an affidavit was sworn on Aug. 8, 2008 detailing a list of FLDS marriage and personal records relating to Winston Blackmore and James Oler.

Special prosecutor Peter Wilson entered 24 marriage records for Blackmore into evidence that were dated back to 1990 and up to 2008. Some records include marriages to two different women that are recorded to have occurred on the same day.

Wilson also entered four marriage records for Jim Oler to women between 1993 and 2004.

Wilson also cross-referenced a personal record for Oler against personal records for the women he married that were also seized by law enforcement.

On cross-examination, Blair Suffredine, the defence counsel for Blackmore, attacked the credibility of the personal and marriage records, noting that there was no way to tell who the original author of the records are.

Suffredine pointed out some of the records seized were not original copies as the documents have markings indicative of being sent to the YFZ ranch by fax machine.

Just Posted

Trail officially launches Community Safety Task Force

Terms of Reference (mandates) for both the new groups are available on the city’s website

Last of southern Selkirk caribou relocated to Revelstoke area

One cow from the South Selkirk herd and two from the Purcells were moved this week

Nelson police warn of counterfeit money in city

The department says it has received multiple reports of fake Canadian and U.S. cash

Support for Blanket Warming Station at KBRH

Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital is currently undergoing a $19+ million Emergency Department reno

Trail and area artists eligible for arts training grant

Grant to support learning for visual and performance artists

B.C. opioid crisis to get same world-renowned treatment approach as HIV/AIDS

A program that focuses on treatment as prevention will roll out Jan. 17

Former welfare clients still owed money, B.C. Ombudsperson says

Investigation found 2,600 people docked illegally for earning income

Prince George could get province’s second BC Cannabis Store

The first brick-and-mortar government retail location opened in Kamloops on Oct. 17

B.C. chowdery caught up in ‘rat-in-soup’ scandal to close

Crab Park Chowdery will be shutting down Jan. 20

Teen vaping is an epidemic: US government

E-cigarettes are now the top high-risk substance used by teenagers, outpacing cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana

Vancouver councillors unanimously approve motion declaring climate emergency

Vancouver joins cities like Los Angeles and London

‘I never said there was no collusion,’ Trump lawyer says

President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani says he has ‘never said there was no collusion’

Winter weather advisory issued for East Kootenay

Up to 5cm of snow expected by the end of the weekend and up to 15cm over the next week

Body of Canadian miner found after African kidnapping

Kirk Woodman’s body was discovered 100 kilometres from the site where he worked for Progress Mineral Mining Company in Burkina Faso

Most Read