October 7, 2022

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“By Heaven’s Order”: How Andrew Garfield Series Is Based on True Crime? | The Murder of Brenda Wright Lafferty | Mormons | SKIP-Introduction

Utah, 1984: El Detective Jeb Byer () Brenda Wright investigates the violent murders of Lafferty (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and her young daughter in their Salt Lake Valley home. In the process, he discovers that the perpetrators of the crime are the Laffertys, relatives of the victim’s husband and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

This prologue describes the story “By heaven’s command”, the new series premiered Recently with Andrew Garfield As the protagonist.

By heaven’s command

Created by Academy Award winner Dustin Lance Black and Ron Howard, the series is also an adaptation of the book “Under Heaven’s Banner: A Story of Violent Hope”, written by John Krakauer in 2003, is based on a true event.

Actress Daisy Edgar-Jones plays Brenda Wright Lafferty in the series: "By heaven's command".  Photo: Star+
Actress Daisy Edgar-Jones plays Brenda Wright Lafferty in the series: “By Command of Heaven”. Photo: Star+

The Lafferty Family

In the series, the Lafferty brothers: Ron (Sam Worthington) Dan (Wyatt Russell) Robin (Seth Neumrich) Sam (Rory Culkin) Jacob (Taylor St. Pierre) and Alan (Billy Howell) are adopted after the death of their father Ammon. Lafferty, the more radical Mormonism from which they were bred, took the form of a curious breakaway sect “School of the Prophets”.

He becomes the first major victim of this radicalization Brenda Lafferty, Alan’s wife, a former television host, is a Mormon. Brenda’s liberal and progressive Mormonism conflicts with the fundamentalist views of her husband’s brothers, so the two Lafferty brothers (Dan and Ron) decide to get rid of Brenda “in the name of God”.

display "By heaven's command".  Photo: Star+
Scene photo from “By Heaven’s Command”: Star+

True story

Following that line, in real life, Ron began claiming to talk to God. In one of these conversations, he told her to kill those he felt had wronged him: his sister-in-law Brenda, who disagreed with the brothers’ radical beliefs and their self-styled prophet, helped his wife. Let go; Chloe Lowe, who supported his wife; and Richard Stowe, who presided over his exodus.

Ron wrote God’s “message” on a yellow legal pad and showed it to his brother Dan. The message, soon to be called the “Disposal Disclosure,” reads:

Thus saith the Lord unto my servants the prophets. It is my wish and order that the following be removed so that my work may continue. Because they really got in my way and I wouldn’t let them stop my work. First your brother’s wife Brenda and her baby, then Chloe Lowe and Richard Stowe. And it is my wish that they should be removed successively”.

Newspaper clipping showing Ron Lafferty (center right) and Don Lafferty (right) at the first court hearing in 1984.
Newspaper clipping showing Ron Lafferty (center right) and Don Lafferty (right) at the first court hearing in 1984.

According to Dan, he was afraid of God’s revelation and said to his brother: “All I can say is make sure it’s from God. You don’t want to act on commands that don’t come from God, but at the same time you don’t want to offend God by refusing to do His work.”.

After consultation “The Book of Mormon”Ron and Dan Lafferty decided to obey the “revelation” and start with their 24-year-old sister-in-law, Brenda Lafferty, and her 15-month-old daughter, Erica.

So, on July 24, 1984, the brothers, with the help of two homeless men, Charles Cornes and Richard Knapp, went to Brenda’s apartment, forced their way in, beat her, strangled her with a vacuum cleaner, and cut her throat. .

He later testified, according to Knapp , Brenda begs him not to kill her child but to no avail. The girl also died when Don slashed her throat.

Brothers Ron Lafferty and Don Lafferty were on trial for the 1984 murders of their sister-in-law Brenda Lafferty and her 15-month-old daughter Erica.  Photo: Deseret
Brothers Ron Lafferty and Don Lafferty were on trial for the 1984 murders of their sister-in-law Brenda Lafferty and her 15-month-old daughter Erica. Photo: Deseret

In search of his other victims

Fulfilling the first “divine mandate”, the Lafferty brothers head to the home of their next victim: Chloe Low but luckily she’s not home. They then search for Richard Stowe, but lose their way.

When Alan Lafferty found his wife and daughter dead, he had no doubt who had killed them. Ron and Dan Lafferty shared an “elimination revelation” with him, but Alan didn’t take it seriously.

On August 17, 1984, Ron and Don Lafferty were arrested by FBI agents in Reno, Nevada. The Laffertys, Carnes and Knapp were charged with two counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated robbery and two counts of conspiracy to commit murder.

Regarding his crime: Dan described: “Then I went into Erica’s room. I talked to her for a minute and said, ‘I don’t know why I have to do this, but I think God wants you at home. Then he slit the throat of a 15-month-old girl. “I’d like to think she didn’t suffer,” said.

Ron Lafferty was handcuffed after a court hearing in Provo on October 6, 2005.  A judge rejected Lafferty's appeal, arguing that his death sentence by firing squad was cruel and unusual punishment.  Photo: Associated Press
Ron Lafferty was handcuffed after a court hearing in Provo on October 6, 2005. A judge rejected Lafferty’s appeal, arguing that his death sentence by firing squad was cruel and unusual punishment. Photo: Associated Press

A “brutal murder” that shocked America

In 2019, following Ron Lafferty’s death from natural causes, former US Fork County Police Chief Terry Fox, who was in charge of investigating the 1984 murder, said: “I have seen many deaths in my life. It is a different case with religious motives. You can use the word cruel, cruel. I don’t dismiss them lightly because it was a very brutal murder. It differs from many crimes in that it begins at the scene of the crime.”.

In 1985, Ron and Dan Lafferty were convicted in separate trials in 1985. Don Lafferty was sentenced to life in prison and Ron was sentenced to death. After long legal battles, he chose to die under firing squad bullets. But while he was on “death row” to be shot, he died of natural causes in 2019.

In Krakauer’s book, the murders committed by the Laffertys are described, but they also exist. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the history of Mormonism, which provoked rejection from the Mormon community.

Gill Birmingham and Andrew Garfield in a scene "By heaven's command".
Gill Birmingham and Andrew Garfield in a scene from Heaven’s Command.

information

-In the Star+ series, Garfield’s character is fictional and that of his police partner.

-The series consists of seven episodes.

Garfield spoke about the series and the controversial story it tells : I love the story of ‘For Heaven’s sake’. At a time when people are increasingly attracted to all forms of fundamentalism and extremism, be it psychological or religious, this feels like a great project to show the world. It’s a true crime thriller with a soul, and that soul is Brenda Lafferty and Erica Lafferty, two victims of this gruesome murder.

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