My Father, the murderer

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) - Nearly 30 years after a grisly murder in American Fork, the daughter of Dan Lafferty opens up for the first time about those years with her dad.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) - It was a double murder that shocked Utah in 1984.
Ron and Dan Lafferty were convicted of murdering their sister in law and her daughter.
The brothers claimed it was a revelation from God ordering the killings.
For the first time, Dan Lafferty's oldest daughter Rebecca granted an interview to ABC 4 Utah and recalls that time in her life when she was seven years old.

"We were living off the land like farmers kind of, like pioneers kind of,” she says. “We had cows. We had chickens."

But Rebecca Lafferty's life would take a sudden turn when she was seven years old.
Her father, Dan Lafferty was developing new beliefs.

“He changed,” she says. “I remember he was a very handsome man and by this point he was growing a very long beard.

He kind of lost that look in his eyes that I used to look into his eyes and feel safe and loved and I wasn't feeling it anymore,”

The father she had grown to love was no longer that man. Lafferty was drifting towards becoming a member of the School of Prophets, a splinter group of the FLDS.

“He had some, I would call some strange people come to the home,” Rebecca says. “I remember one gentleman bringing a pulpit to speak like he was a prophet of some kind.”

She remembers a conversation with her mother about a forthcoming marriage.

“There was an incident where my mom was making my dad's clothes and trying to make him look real nice,” she says. “I remember her saying we're going to get you looking very nice for your other wife because my father was talking about taking another wife.”

But her mother wanted out of the relationship. Dan turned to prayer and eventually agreed to let them go.

“My mom says quick she's like get your brothers and sisters together and she somehow got some money to go make a phone call and then my sister came and picked us up,” she says.

She says they went into hiding fearing her father would change his mind.

“We weren't allowed to talk to anybody outside the house and then we ended up moving to Salem,” Rebecca says.

On Pioneer Day in 1984, police came upon a grisly murder scene.
Brenda Lafferty and her daughter Erica were found dead. Their throats had been slashed.

“I just remember it being in the middle of the night and hearing a big knock on the door a loud bang at the door,” she says. “My mom says hurry Rebecca grab some clothes and put them in a bag,” she recalled. “I'm just confused and we get in a police car and drive to Provo.”

Police were looking for her dad and Uncle Ron Lafferty. They were accused of murdering Rebecca's aunt and baby cousin.

“I didn't want to believe it,” she says. He was my father. I wanted to believe it was my uncle more than my father and in my mind it was my uncle and my dad was just part of it.”

During their trials, the Lafferty brothers claimed it was a revelation from God who ordered the killings.

“There was something that came over him when he felt he was to be the hand of God and to play out that revelation of whatever Ron, I can't remember the exact words, but to remove Brenda and her baby,” says Rebecca.

Being a Lafferty was difficult on Rebecca who was now a young teen living in Salem.

“It was very embarrassing and very humiliating,” she says. “The impact was a girl walked up to me on a school bus and she said your dad is a baby killer and I felt so exposed, so ashamed so in disbelief.”

After 29 years, Rebecca still visits and writes to her father who remains locked up at the Utah state prison. She says he still believes the walls of the prison will crumble and will walk out as the prophet Elijah.

“He just felt that was his calling and that's who he was and that's to announce the return of Jesus,” she says.

It still doesn't make sense to Rebecca. She tries to ignore that. Now that she's married and a mother, she wants to reconnect with her father, a murderer.

“I carried a lot of shame for a lot of years until I realized I can choose who I want to be,” says Rebecca. “Do I want to make a difference or do I want to stay a victim and live that story over and over again?”

Ron Lafferty is on death row and continues to appeal the case. Her father, Dan is serving a life sentence with no chance at parole.

A South Jordan author is currently writing a book on Rebeca’s life. Angie Fenimore author of “Beyond the Darkness” is working on her second book “The Sparrow’s Lens.”

“It’s about the Lafferty murders but it comes from the victims stand point,” says Fenimore.

Fenimore says she is also interviewing Alan Lafferty who lost his wife Brenda and daughter.

“We want to set the record straight,” says Fenimore. “And for the victims they’ve profoundly found ways to cope.”

Fenimore has also made several visits to the Utah state prison to visit Dan Lafferty and plans to include those interviews in her book.

“I’ve seen a shift in him,” she says. “He’s always talked about religion and the second coming, but that is much less now.”
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