Cult leader Jeffrey Lundgren scheduled for execution

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Cult leader Jeffrey Lundgren, convicted of killing five people in a suburban Cleveland barn in 1989, is scheduled to be executed on Oct. 10, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled on Thursday.

Lundgren, 56, was convicted of shooting to death a man, his wife and three daughters who had moved from Missouri in 1987 to follow Lundgren’s teachings. He referred to the killings as “pruning the vineyard.”

Lundgren had been dismissed in 1987 as a senior temple guide at the Kirtland Temple managed by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

He had attracted a following, and several people moved with him to a rented farm house in Kirtland, 23 miles east of Cleveland, where they called him “Dad” and contributed money for group expenses.

The victims were Dennis Avery, 49; his wife, Cheryl, 46; and daughters Trina, 15, Rebecca, 13, and Karen, 7.

On April 17, 1989, the Avery family was invited to dinner, then led to the barn where they were bound and placed into the pit, where Lundgren shot each one. The pit was covered with dirt.

Kirtland police found the body of Dennis Avery on Jan. 3, 1990, leading to the arrest of Lundgren in California on Jan. 7.

A jury found him guilty of five counts of aggravated murder with each count containing two death penalty specifications and five counts of kidnapping.

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(Listed if other than Religion News Blog)
AP, via, USA
Aug. 24, 2006
John McCartney

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This post was last updated: Dec. 31, 2014