APnv 12/10 1707 Bride of Christ ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) -- Five men have been acquitte

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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 Lindsay, Calif. 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 concerned. "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 properly." 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 little. Hill said the family's concern about Mrs. Hollin grew after her daughter Margaret returned to California in 1985 to live with her father. 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 said. 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.


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