HURRICANE – A handwritten witness statement forced a judge to declare a mistrial Friday in the case of a man who was kicked out of a polygamous church and his family reassigned to his brother.
Thomas Barlow was on trial facing charges of kidnapping, attempted assault and domestic violence in the presence of a child when a previously overlooked statement surfaced.
Washington County Deputy Attorney Ryan Shaum told a St. George newspaper the jury trial had already begun when he noticed a handwritten statement in a police file.
”There was another statement written by someone who had observed injuries on the victim – a handwritten statement on a Hildale police form that was not disclosed until today,” Shaum told The Spectrum.
Shaum brought the statement to the attention of Barlow’s attorney, Travis Christiansen, who also did not know about it and filed a motion with the court. All such filings must be shared between the prosecution and the defense before the start of a trial.
Christiansen said the statement was written two days after the alleged kidnapping incident by an EMT who stated that Barlow’s former wife, Terri Shapley, was taken to a local medical clinic to be examined for injuries.
Two witnesses, including Shapley, had testified before a lunch break was called and 5th District Judge James L. Shumate reviewed the motion.
When court returned to session, Shumate declared a mistrial.
Barlow was facing charges stemming from an August 2004 incident.