You may remember the post on the murder of bookseller Sherry Black I did last week. You may also remember the piece I did on Insane Clown Posse and their Juggalo followers a month or so ago. I never imagined the stories would intertwine, but police speculate that her murder may have something to do with the fact that Black unwittingly bought stolen books from 20-year-old Lorin Nielsen. Guess what band Nielsen was a fan of?
The relevant section:
In February of 2009, 20-year-old Lorin Nielsen was arrested and charged with stealing books from his father, a polygamous church president.
He sold them to Sherry Black for $20,000.
The books included a first-edition French Book of Mormon signed by John Taylor with a message to Parley P. Pratt.
For those without any particular knowledge of the history of Mormonism, both of those were big wheels in the early LDS. Pratt was a member of the first “Quorum of the Twelve Apostles” and Taylor was with founder Joseph Smith the night he was killed by a mob in a jail in Carthage, Illinois on June 27, 1844.
In total, the books were worth an estimated $45,000.
When the father confronted Nielsen about the theft, the report states Nielsen warned him that “if he got police involved he will set off a chain of events he’s not going to like because he is a member of a gang.”
Police reports state Nielsen was affiliated with an Insane Clown Posse, or Juggalos gang and had access to guns.
I’m inferring from the above that Lorin Nielson’s father is Wendell Nielsen, president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS). Nielsen took over from convicted felon Warren Jeffs. (Recently Jeffs’ rape conviction was overturned, but he’s now facing sexual assault charges in Texas. It was big news in when Jeffs’ bigamist compound in Texas was raided by police. I must admit that my tolerance for polygamy as an “alternate life style” pretty much evaporates when you start marrying 12-year-olds. )
Never mind the fact that Juggalos are a “gang” in about the same sense that Deadheads or Parrotheads are a gang. Or that my (admittedly facile) understanding of Utah law is that it is not much more difficult to obtain “access to guns” if you’re not a felon than Texas. However, if this is the same Lorin Nielson, he probably is a felon (it says he was found guilty of theft and theft by deception, the date is about right, and the amount involved would certainly be enough to earn a felony conviction (assuming it wasn’t pleaded down), but because Utah is a closed records state, you can’t be sure that’s the case).
I mentioned before that bookstores are rarely robbed, because there are usually much richer targets available. Plus books are next to impossible to fence, because collectors are too small a community, word of stolen goods gets out really fast, and it’s almost impossible to find a place to sell anything worth stealing. But some of that early Mormon stuff goes for insane amounts of money. This case reminded me that fake documents were at the heart of the “White Salamander Murders” case. (Short version: A guy named Mark Hoffman was selling fake Joseph Smith documents that undermined official Mormon dogma to church leaders desperate to keep them off the market, then he went all mad bomber in an attempt to cover his tracks.)
So police believe, what? An insane Juggalo killed Black because they were pissed off because she cooperated with the police? Honestly I think there’s more wackiness in the FLDS side of story than the Juggalo side…