APnv 12/10 1707 Bride of Christ ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) -- Five men have been acquitte
APnv 12/10 1707 Bride of Christ
ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) -- Five men have been acquitted of
burglary and kidnapping charges after they argued they were
trying to rescue a woman and her two children from a church.
A Douglas County Circuit Court jury deliberated an hour and a
half Wednesday before finding the men innocent of breaking into a
house at the Bride of Christ Church in Azalea and abducting
Gloria Hollin, 40, her daughter Sarah, 4, and her son, Johnny
Frech Jr., 21.
The defendants, all relatives or friends of Mrs. Hollin's
family, were Nestor Calderon, 34, of West Covina, Calif.; Alex
Soto, 27, of Las Vegas, Nev.; Kerry Soto, 25, of Baldwin Park,
Calif.; Enrique R. Tanguma, 24, and Johnny M. Chapa, 35, both of
They were arrested while driving through Yreka, Calif.,
shortly after the April 26 incident.
"It's a family matter, not a criminal matter," defense
attorney Gary Hill said in closing arguments Wednesday.
Defense attorney Mark Hendershott said the men wanted to
rescue Mrs. Hollin and her children from a church.
Hendershott said after the Bride of Christ Church moved from
Las Vegas to Azalea, "the curtain dropped" as far as any
communications between Mrs. Hollin and her family were
"The cult leader controls all," Hendershott said, calling the
jury's attention to the number of church members in the
courtroom, which he called "a line-up to see if witnesses testify
Hendershott said the family took action after seeing danger
building as Mrs. Hollin became more involved in the church.
Hill said the defendants didn't intend to break the law and
were motivated by concern for Mrs. Hollin.
Although guns were found in the van when the defendants were
stopped in California, only electronic stun guns were used to get
Mrs. Hollin and her children away from her husband.
Hill said witnesses had testified that Mrs. Hollin left the
house of her own free will, and that Frech struggled only a
Hill said the family's concern about Mrs. Hollin grew after
her daughter Margaret returned to California in 1985 to live with
The family saw a dramatic change from the normal child she had
been to one who hid in a closet during a family celebration, Hill
The drastic change in the child was almost like a message from
Hollin, saying, "See what could happen to me," Hill said.
District Attorney Jack Banta attacked the "choice of evils"
defense, saying there was no imminent threat to Mrs. Hollin or
her children if they stayed at the church.
Banta said the family could have called on authorities to
investigate if they thought there was any danger.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank