5 Jul 2008

FLDS 'lost boy' found guilty in rape-murder of 15-year-old girlfriend

Salt Lake Tribune - July 2, 2008

by Ana Breton

A West Jordan jury has convicted 19-year-old Parley Jeffs Dutson, one of the FLDS polygamous sect's so-called "lost boys" exiles, in the rape and murder of his 15-year-old girlfriend.
A jury of 10 delivered a verdict at about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, finding that Dutson was guilty of one count of murder and one count of aggravated sexual assault, both first-degree felonies.
Three rows of Hopkins' friends and family members were in the West Jordan 3rd District Court when the verdict was read. Several in the courtroom were present the night Dutson fatally shot Hopkins at an apartment complex party in West Jordan on April 7, 2007. Prosecutors said Dutson had demanded sex, in front of his friends, from his girlfriend Kara Hopkins. When she refused, Dutson shot her in the head and sexually assaulted her.
But Dutson's judgment, which defense attorneys claimed was impaired by drugs and alcohol, became a key issue during closing arguments of the four-day trial that ended on Tuesday. Defense attorneys argued that Dutson, who testified that he was drunk and high during the party, said the teen was in a vegetative state that would not have allowed him to intentionally commit murder.
"This was a tragic result of intoxication," defense attorney Brian Gardner said. "It doesn't make sense that he would kill his girlfriend. They were doing just fine. The
common thread between Kara and Parley is that they loved each other."
Prosecutor Kimberly Crandall argued that his loss of memory during the incident, which she called "convenient amnesia," should not be used as defense for his actions.
Gardner said that although Dutson has a history of drug and alcohol abuse, he is far from being a violent person. Regardless, prosecutors argued that Dutson still made key decisions that ultimately led to Hopkins' murder.
"[Dutson] chose to have the party. He chose to buy the drugs. He chose to take the drugs and point the gun and he chose to pull the trigger," Crandall said. "That's what it comes down to. [Hopkins] is dead because of [Dutson's] decisions."
Two professors from the University of Utah testified on Tuesday about the effects of psilocybin mushrooms, which Dutson was using that night. Stephen Golding, professor of psychiatry, said it's difficult for someone high on the mushrooms to partake in a purposeful act, and that the drug usually cannot prompt violent behavior. However, he said the intake of mushrooms impairs judgment that would likely lead a person to make rash decisions and affect his or her alertness and memory.
Dutson testified that he does not remember the party because he had smoked marijuana, eaten four mushroom "caps," drank alcohol and a substantial amount of a homemade tea brew of mushrooms and Kool-Aid. He said he did not remember much until he was in the police station - except for a few moments - like texting a girl who tipped him that, "Curtis," the man who sold him the mushrooms, was coming over to find him.
That is what prompted Dutson to retrieve and load his black revolver. Dutson said he also remembered talking to Hopkins in his bedroom during the party and telling her that he loved her and wanted to protect her. Besides that, Dutson said he didn't remember much because he was too high.
Dutson was only 16 when he was expelled from the FLDS polygamous Utah-Arizona border community of Hilldale-Colorado City by order of sect leader Warren Jeffs; it was a fate shared by many other teen boys deemed unworthy of the community. Dutson moved to St. George, where he is thought to have met Hopkins.
Dutson will be sentenced in the West Jordan 3rd District Court of Judge Royal Hansen at 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 21.

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