2024 trial set for polygamous sect leader in Arizona
PHOENIX (AP) — The trial for a polygamous sect leader charged with kidnapping and evidence tampering in an investigation in his community on the Utah-Arizona state line has been postponed until 2024.
Samuel Bateman had previously been scheduled to go to trial next month, but a judge granted the postponement Friday after prosecutors said they expect more charges to be filed in the case within the next three months.
Bateman’s trial was moved to March 5, 2024.
He faces federal and state charges in Arizona, including child abuse, obstructing a federal investigation and aiding in kidnapping girls who were placed in the state child welfare agency after his arrest earlier this year. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Federal authorities also have accused Bateman of taking more than 20 wives, including underage girls, though he does not face any charges directly related to that accusation.
Bateman and his followers practice polygamy, a legacy of the early teachings of the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The faith known widely as the Mormon church abandoned the practice in 1890 and now strictly prohibits it.
Bateman, who remains jailed until his trial, lived in Colorado City, Arizona.