The Creepy Ties Between This Killer, Dead Utah Family

Dan Lafferty says he and Kristi Strack fell in love
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2015 10:20 AM CST
The Creepy Ties Between This Killer, Dead Utah Family
In this 2012 mug shot released on Jan. 29, 2015, by the Utah Department of Corrections police mug shows convicted killer Dan Lafferty.   (AP Photo/Utah Department of Corrections)

Cult leader and convicted killer Dan Lafferty didn't just develop a relationship with Utah couple Benjamin and Kristi Strack, found dead in September along with their three children. Lafferty—whose philosophy states the world is run by the devil and the apocalypse is imminent—says his ideology influenced their murder-suicide. Lafferty says their relationship began a decade ago after Kristi Strack read Jon Krakauer's book Under the Banner of Heaven, which describes Lafferty's 1984 killings of his sister-in-law and her 15-month old daughter. Lafferty tells the AP she began sending him letters, then visiting him in prison. He says they fell in love. "My 'insanity' messes with people's lives," Lafferty says from prison, where he's serving a life sentence. "It's just the way it is."

At one point, she visited Lafferty on a weekly basis—once giving him a photo of herself in her pajamas, he says—and the pair spent hours on the phone. Lafferty cut off his long hair and beard and mailed them to her. Benjamin Strack visited, too, and wasn't bothered by Lafferty's relationship with his wife, the AP reports. However, the meetings stopped in 2008 when the Stracks pleaded guilty to forgery and drug possession and lost visiting privileges. Lafferty, who says he is the prophet Elijah, tasked with readying the world for the second coming, adds the friendship ended for good because Strack doubted those claims. "I'll miss them, but I'm happy for them," says Lafferty, who hadn't spoken to the family in years. "I believe they're in paradise now." (More Springville stories.)

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