Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Killing for God

Rena: Child Bride

In the midst of his murderous rampage, Ervil received a revelation to take another wife, and married Rena Chynoweth - his 13th and last wife - in February 1975.

Rena Chynoweth
Rena Chynoweth

She was 16, he was 50. In her memoir The Blood Covenant, Rena says Ervil molested her for four years before she finally gave in to making it "legal."

Nevertheless, the aging stud couldn't get it up on their wedding night, Rena writes, or for many nights thereafter. When he finally did manage to consummate their relationship, she was utterly repulsed.

"...had to close my eyes and pretend I was somewhere else or he was someone else," she writes. "I would often turn my head away or hold my breath so I wouldn't have to smell his breath. It always reeked of something awful, usually coffee. He kissed like a fish, very stiff-lipped, in a way that really disgusted me."

Rena didn't want to kiss Ervil, but she did want to kill for him.

Frustrated by his inability to eliminate his little brother and take over the Firstborners, Ervil came up with yet another plan to assassinate him, one of many he'd concocted over the years.

Verlan was in constant motion between safe houses in Mexico, California, and Nicaragua, so Ervil came up with a must-attend event that would lure Verlan into the open: Rulon Allred's funeral.

Rulon had refused to tithe to Ervil and had to die anyway, Ervil figured. His brother would no doubt attend the funeral of the man who had been a legendary Utah polygamist, and the Lamb of God assassins would cut him down during the service. It was the perfect plan, Ervil thought. Two birds, one stone.

Ramona Marston
Ramona Marston

On May 10, 1977, Rena and another young woman, Ramona Marston, walked into Rulon's homeopathic clinic on the outskirts of Salt Lake City wearing cheap wigs and fake glasses. Rena spotted Rulon as he stepped from a back room and walked toward him. He nodded at her.

"He was exactly as he had been described to me," Rena would later write in her memoir. "Tall, slender, gray-haired - a nice, pleasant-looking man... He was no more than three to five feet from me. I knew the moment had come to do what I was sent there to do."

Without a word, Rena pulled a .25 caliber pistol from her jacket and fired, emptying all seven bullets into the old man's chest. He tried to deflect them with his hands before falling.

Rulon Allred's funeral
Rulon Allred's funeral

Rulon Allred's funeral at Bingham High School was a huge event. Over 2,600 people from around the country traveled to the school for a final goodbye, as did the police and news media, according to Anderson. Ervil's goons drove into the parking lot, took one look at the scene, and aborted their plan to hunt down Verlan among the mourners.

Once again, Ervil had failed to kill his younger brother. He was in a foul mood for days.

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