John Coltharp, one of two men who traded daughters to be their wives and formed a doomsday group that prepared for a Muslim invasion of the United States, was sentenced this week to 26 years to life in prison.
Coltharp pleaded guilty in June in state court in Sanpete County to child bigamy and child sodomy charges. According to FOX 13, 6th District Judge Marvin Bagley on Wednesday ordered the sentences run consecutively, amounting to at least 26 years.
FOX 13 reported Coltharp was unrepentant for entering into a spiritual marriage with a girl and compared himself to Old Testament prophets.
"My marriage was the right thing to do,” Coltharp told Bagley. “If I’m a sex offender for what I’ve done, if I go to the other side, I’ll be in good company with all those other sex offenders.”
Coltharp’s partner in forming Knights of the Crystal Blade, Samuel Shaffer, pleaded guilty to similar charges and has already been sentenced to 26 years to life in prison. A third defendant, Robert Roe, has been charged with sodomy of a child, also punishable by up to life in prison.
Roe has been released on bail. He has not yet entered a plea. Roe’s next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 19.
Court records have said the Knights of the Crystal Blade believed in so-called Mormon fundamentalist teachings, including polygamy, and that a Muslim invasion of the United States and the end of the world were nearing.
Knights of the Crystal Blade came to the attention of law enforcement in December. That’s when Coltharp and Shaffer hid Coltharp’s children from his ex-wife, triggering an Amber Alert and search that spread from Spring City in central Utah to the desert west of Cedar City, where Shaffer and the children were found in a makeshift home constructed from shipping containers.
Prosecutors and the children’s mothers have said the youngsters were traumatized by the sexual abuse and kidnapping and could have died of hypothermia in Utah’s west desert.