Kirtland cult member to be paroled

On April 17, 1989, five members of the Avery family were shot in the head, executed in a barn in Kirtland, Ohio.

Today, one of the men who helped in the Kirtland Cult Murders is eligible for parole and is expected to be released.

46-year-old Richard Brand, a one-time disciple who testified against cult leader Jeffrey Lundgren, has been approved for parole.

Rep. Steven LaTourette was the Lake County prosecutor at the time […] says Brand and the others were good, church-going people before Lundgren brain-washed them.

Lundgren and nine followers were arrested, including his wife and son. Lundgren was executed in October of 2006.

– Source / Full Story: Kirtland cult member to be paroled, WTAM, Mar. 29, 2010 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

The March 29 release date comes just weeks before the 21st anniversary of the April 17, 1989 execution-style murders of cult members Dennis Avery, 49 and his wife, Cheryl, 46 and their daughters Trina, 15; Becky, 13 and Karen, 7. They were duct-taped, tossed into a grave, and shot to death one at a time.

Brand assisted Lundgren in killing the Averys. He later testified against Lundgren, providing details of the murders that helped convict the cult leader and others, in exchange for a chance at parole one day.

All 10 members of the cult were convicted of charges ranging from conspiracy to commit murder to aggravated murder. Only Jeffrey Lundgren was given the death penalty. His wife, Alice Lundrgen, was sentenced to 150-years-to-life; his son, Damon, was sentenced to 120-years-to-life; Lundrgen’s right-hand man, Ronald Luff, was sentenced to 170-years-to-life.
Brand was sentenced in 1994 had been denied parole three times in the past.

– Source / Full Story: Kirtland cult member Richard Brand to be released from prison as early as March, Michael Sangiacomo,, Feb. 10, 2010 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

Cult Murders

See Also

The Kirtland Massacre: The True and Terrible Story of the Mormon Cult Murders

Those who do not follow a cult or believe in sadistic prophets may find it difficult to understand how over a dozen educated, seemingly decent people were able to assist in the murders of Dennis and Cheryl Avery and their three children in Kirtland, Ohio. However, Sasse who prosecuted the perpetrators, and Widder make a strong attempt to explain how Jeffrey Lundgren gathered his followers in a bizarre Mormon commune, isolated from society.

After the murders, Lundgren and his group went up into the mountains, where the women humiliated themselves by dancing naked for him while he masturbated into their underwear. With the discovery of the decomposing bodies, the faithful pointed without hesitation to Lundgren. None of those who bound the victims or stood lookout or ran the chainsaw to cover the noise of the shots felt any blame for the murders.

This study in cult mentality and abdication of responsibility is a useful addition to true crime collections.
– Source: Library Journal as cited by

We appreciate your support


Our website includes affiliate links, which means we get a small commission — at no additional cost to you — for each qualifying purpose. For instance, as an Amazon Associate Religion News Blog earns from qualifying purchases. That is one reason why we can provide this service free of charge.


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog)

More About This Subject

This post was last updated: Dec. 31, 2014