Samuel Shaffer, who with a second man is accused of marrying young girls and preparing for a Muslim invasion, has a tentative agreement to plead guilty to more charges, a prosecutor said Friday.
Sanpete County Attorney Kevin Daniels declined to provide details of the agreement. Daniels said the deal is tentative and partially contingent on what sentence Shaffer receives in Iron County.
There, Shaffer has already pleaded guilty to rape of a child, a first-degree felony, and a lesser count of child abuse with serious injury. The rape count carries a sentence of 25 years to life in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for May 22 in 5th District Court in Cedar City.
In Sanpete County, Shaffer, 34, is still charged with two first-degree felony counts of sodomy on a child, as well as lesser charges of obstruction of justice, child bigamy and lewdness involving a child.
Shaffer is scheduled to appear in court Monday in 6th District Court in Manti for a hearing where a judge is supposed to determine if there is enough evidence for Shaffer to proceed to trial. Daniels on Friday said the prosecution and defense will likely ask the judge to continue the case until after the Iron County sentencing.
Daniels said the victims’ mothers are aware of tentative deal with Shaffer.
“In a case of this magnitude and the number of victims it involves, it’s important to us to have their feedback,” Daniels said.
Shaffer and John Coltharp, 34, were arrested in December and charged with kidnapping. They hid Coltharp’s children from his ex-wife, triggering an Amber Alert, according to court and law enforcement documents.
The children were later found with Shaffer in a rural part of Iron County where he was living in a makeshift home constructed from shipping containers.
Shaffer and Coltharp, according to the documents, founded a religious group called Knights of the Crystal Blade with fundamentalist Mormon teachings. They also believed the end of the world was nearing and Muslims would invade the United States. Each man married the other’s older daughter, according to police interviews filed with the courts, and each married his own 4-year-old daughter.
Coltharp has pleaded not guilty in Sanpete County to a child kidnapping, sodomy, child bigamy and obstruction of justice. The kidnapping and sodomy charges carry up to life in prison.
A trial has been scheduled to begin July 9.
Shaffer tried to withdraw his guilty plea in Iron County. A judge rejected that and upheld the guilty plea.