1 06-15-88 01:22 aed utah Alleged Mormon Temple hostage taker
wants dead prophets to testify
ROCKVILLE, Md. (UPI) _ A man accused of seizing hostages at
the Mormon Temple in 1986 is mentally competent to stand trial
even though he wants numerous dead prophets of the cult to
testify in his defense, a Montgomery County judge has ruled.
Circuit Judge Peter Messitte, whose ruling Tuesday on Clarence
Leake's competency cleared the way for jury selection to begin
immediately, said, "Let us be clear on this matter, there is a
"(But) does that render the defendant incompetent to stand
trial? It is clear to the court that the defendant does
understand what is going on."
Leake, 30, of Harrisonburg, is charged with two counts of
kidnapping and two counts of assault and possession of a handgun.
He has pleaded innocent by reason of insanity.
He was arrested without incident Oct. 23, 1986, after two men
were held hostage overnight in the majestic temple in Kensington
that towers over the Capital Beltway in suburban Washington, D.C.
Dr. Neal Blumberg testified Monday that Leake has shown
"unusual signs of mental delusional disorder," which would hinder
his efforts to assist in his own defense. Blumberg said Leake
believes he has "conversations with God."
Leake's father, Donald Leake, also of Harrisonburg, said
Tuesday outside the courtroom that the Mormon Church is a
"I've seen the change in him right after he was baptized in
the Mormon Church (10 years ago)," his father said. "He says
there are spirits in the temple. After he was baptized that's
when he said he began to hear voices."
The defendant had his defense subpeona 14 witnesses, all of
whom are dead prophets of the Mormon Church.
In response to the subpeona, Messitte said, "When one gets
into the realm of religious belief, especially in court, one
treads very carefully."
"There is to some, perhaps, an element of fantasy," the judge
went on to say. "I came to the conculsion that the defendant is
Messitte then read four passages of Mormon scripture that
dealt with the Mormon belief of dead spirits coming back, which
the judge used to illustrate the reason for his decision.
One of Leake's attorneys, Carol Freeman, said, "Mr. Leake
does feel very strongly that these witnesses will appear. All
the doctors that have examined Mr. Leake have determined that he
is suffering from a delusional disorder."
Prosecutors allege that Leake became angry before the hostage
incident when he tried to enter the temple, but was told his pass
had been revoked by cult authorities.
Leake has been free on $50,000 bond.