Infamous death row inmate Ron Lafferty dead of natural causes

Nov 11, 2019, 10:14 AM | Updated: 11:40 am
ron lafferty death row inmate...
Photo: KSL.com file

DRAPER — Ron Lafferty, an inmate on Utah’s death row, died Monday of natural causes at the state prison in Draper.

Lafferty was convicted in the 1984 murders of his sister-in-law Brenda Lafferty and her baby, 15 month old Erica in American Fork.  Lafferty spent the last 34 years on death row and had selected the firing squad as his method of execution. His brother, Dan, is serving two life sentences for the same crimes. The brothers committed the crimes after Ron claimed he had received a revelation from God instructing him to do so.

The brothers were excommunicated from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after expressing anti-government views. Dan had been in some trouble over refusal to pay taxes and follow traffic laws. The brothers then joined another religious group, the School of the Prophets and their four other brothers also participated, including their younger brother, Allen, who was married to Brenda. As part of their new religious direction, the brothers expressed an interest in practicing polygamy. Brenda voiced opposition to the practice and had encouraged the other wives to stand up for themselves.

The Laffertys claimed Ron received revelations from God who instructed him to remove Brenda and several others so that the work of the Lord could move forward. The ‘removal revelation’ included religious leaders who Ron felt helped his wife and kids leave him.

Ron and Dan drove to the American Fork home of Allen and Brenda Lafferty on Pioneer Day, July 24th, 1984. Investigators say Brenda sustained a substantial beating before a vacuum cord was tied around her neck and they slit her throat. Baby Erica was murdered while in her crib. Her throat had also been slit. Dan told investigators that he was the one who committed the murders. He was the hand of God, while Ron was the voice of God.

Another person on the ‘removal revelation’ list was not at home when the Laffertys arrived and they took a wrong turn while driving to the home of another church leader named on the list.

Ron Lafferty was eligible to choose the firing squad rather than lethal injection under state law because he was convicted before the state abolished the firing squad. Utah lawmakers reinstated the firing squad in capital cases starting in 2015, but for use only when lethal injection drugs are unavailable.

As recently as August, a federal appeals court rejected Ron Lafferty’s appeal, meaning he would have had to appeal next to the US Supreme Court. In October, the same appellate court denied a request for a rehearing.

Utah Corrections officials had moved Lafferty from his maximum security cell to medium security, where the prison infirmary is located. Prison officials would not comment Lafferty’s health. They also for “security and safety reasons” do not share information on when and where an offender is moved, said Kaitlin Felsted, Utah Department of Corrections spokeswoman.

Lafferty turned 78 years old last Monday.

This story will be updated.

Today’s Top Stories


An 18-year-old man has turned himself into police in connection with a shooting in Orem at the Axis...
Allie Litzinger and Samantha Herrera

18-year-old connected to Orem shooting turns himself in

The man is accused of attempted murder after a shooting in Orem in November. He turned himself in with the help of his lawyer.
4 days ago
A former American Fork soccer coach is under arrest and facing six felony counts of child sexual ab...
Hugo Rikard-Bell

Former American Fork soccer coach arrested on charges of child sexual abuse

The suspect arrested on charges of child sexual abuse was reportedly a soccer coach for the UC Strikers and Utah FC junior teams, between 2000 and 2014, according to American Fork Police.
5 days ago
Eli Mitchell, victim of fatal hit and run...
Mark Jones

Utah County man pleads guilty to death of West Jordan teenager

A Saratoga Springs man pleaded guilty Tuesday in Third District Court of automobile homicide in connection to the death of a 13-year-old West Jordan teenager last April.
6 days ago
FILE: Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes appears on a video screen above members of the Select Com...

Oath Keepers boss guilty of seditious conspiracy in 1/6 case

A Washington, D.C., jury found Rhodes guilty of sedition after three days of deliberations in the the nearly two-month-long trial
6 days ago
homeless shelters and Homelessness in Utah...
Alejandro Lucero

Utah official says better coordination could help with homelessness

Homelessness continues to grow in big cities across the U.S., and Salt Lake City is not an enigma. Could focusing on mental health help curb the trend?
6 days ago
Hand-written messages cover the heart attached to the cross to honor a victim of the mass shooting ...

Colorado gay club shooting suspect held without bail

The alleged shooter facing possible hate crime charges in the fatal shooting of five people at a Colorado Springs gay nightclub was ordered held without bail in an initial court appearance Wednesday.
12 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Infamous death row inmate Ron Lafferty dead of natural causes