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Parole board votes against clemency for cult leader Jeffrey Lundgren

The Columbus Dispatch, USA
Oct. 2, 2006
Alan Johnson • Tuesday October 3, 2006

Cult killer Jeffrey D. Lundgren should get no mercy for “systematically and premeditatedly” killing a family of five from Kirtland in 1989, the Ohio Parole Board ruled this morning.

Lundgren, 56, of Lake County, is scheduled to be executed Oct. 24 unless Gov. Bob Taft intervenes. Ohio’s governor has unlimited clemency power once he has parole board recommendation.

The board voted 8-0 against clemency in a report issued at noon today.

A Missouri native and member of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Lundren created his own religious cult after he was excommunicated.

On April 17, 1989, Lundgren had the Avery family — Dennis and Cheryl, and their daughters, Trina Denise, 15, Rebecca Lynn, 13, and Karen Diane — bound and gagged and dropped into a pit. He then shot each family member two to three times with a .45-caliber semiautomatic weapon.

In his statement to the parole board, Lundgren said God commanded him to kill the Avery family as part of a “cleansing.”

The board said Lundren’s motive for the murders was for financial gain, power and “exploitation and manipulation of the fears and beliefs of others.”

Lundren’s 12 accomplices were also convicted and sentenced from 18 months to 150 years in prison.

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