4 of 7 in ‘Love Has Won’ group facing more serious charges

SAGUACHE —Seven members of the controversial religious group “Love Has Won” were in Saguache County Court on Wednesday, May 12, in individual, continued proceedings related to their involvement in the body of Amy Carlson, also known as “Mother God” and leader of the group, being discovered in a house owned by the group in Moffat.

All defendants were appearing — either virtually or via telephone — on return filing of charges, a decision 12thJudicial District Assistant Deputy District Attorney Alex Raines stated was coming when he announced in court last week his intention to increase the charges against some members of the group.

Each of the seven were originally charged with two counts of child abuse, a second-class misdemeanor, and abuse of a corpse, a class six felony.

While felonies are the most serious classification of charges, class six felonies are the least serious with sentencing that ranges from one year to 18 months in prison and or a fine from $1,000 to $100,000. Being convicted of a class six felony also carries a mandatory one-year parole. 

Colorado law allows for alternatives to incarceration, which, depending upon the circumstances of the crime committed, can include a sentence that does not involve going to jail. However, if someone convicted of a class six felony has already been convicted of a felony twice before — in any state, not just in Colorado — a fine in lieu of spending time in jail is not an option. 

Three of the defendants — Sarah Rudolph, Chris Royer and Karin Raymond — continue to be charged with a class six felony, abuse of a corpse, and two counts of child abuse. 

Raymond has also been charged with false imprisonment, a class five felony. According to the arrest warrant, Raymond “unlawfully, feloniously, and knowingly confined or detained Miguel Lamboy, without the victim's consent and without proper legal authority. Further, the defendant used force or threat of force to confine or detain the victim and she confined or detained the victim for twelve hours or more.”

The remaining four members — Jason Castillo (aka “Father God”), John Robertson, Ryan Kramer and Ma Obdulia Franco Gonzales — are no longer charged with a class six felony but with a class three felony, for tampering with a deceased body, instead.

As stated in the arrest warrant, “On or about April 28, 2021, [Castillo, Robertson, Kramer and Franco Gonzales] believing that an official proceeding was pending, in progress, or about to be instituted, and acting without legal right or authority, unlawfully and feloniously willfully destroyed, mutilated, concealed, removed, or altered a human body, part of a human body, or human remains with intent to impair its or their appearance or availability in the official proceedings.”

According to sentencing guidelines in Colorado, the minimum sentence for a person convicted of committing a class three felony is four years in prison and or $3,000 in fines. The maximum sentence is 12 years in prison and or $750,000 in fines. However, again, anyone convicted of a class three felony who has been convicted of a felony twice before is not allowed to pay a fine in lieu of incarceration. Class three felonies also carry a five-year mandatory parole.

More people have bonded out of jail, including Castillo, while several remained behind bars. One defendant, Rudolph, has requested a different attorney, stating she “doesn’t like the direction [her attorney] is taking.” Several of the attorneys have said they have received “very little evidence” and may be contesting the charges next time their client appears in court.

However, one order of the court was repeated several times throughout the seven hearings. Saguache County Judge Anna Ulrich reiterated that taping of the proceedings is prohibited — specifically citing that livestreaming was explicitly not allowed in response to one attorney suggesting that someone was livestreaming the hearings on social media.