A mistrial was declared today in the deprogramming case involving five people accused of abducting Emily Kim Deitz, a follower of Guru Maharaj Ji.
The mistrial was declared by Denver District Court Judge Edward Carelli after Deitz, 23, formerly of Silver Spring, admitted that she had spoken with a witness, her former roommate, Sharon Malinowski, 20, last night and this morning. The conversation violated court rules.
Deitz' parents, Dr. and Mrs. Leonard Deitz of Silver Spring, were in the courtroom when the ruling came. They had planned to testify on behalf of the four men and one woman accused of kidnaping their daughter on a Denver street in April 1981.
Assistant District Attorney Beth McCann told a reporter that the mistrial "was my fault. It was not Deitz' fault that this happened." McCann said Deitz did not understand that she was violating court orders by conversing with Malinowski.
A hearing in the case has set for Tuesday morning. Kin Morss, an attorney for one of the defendants, said the Denver District Court will be asked to dismiss the case. If that move fails, a new trial might be held in about three months.
Joseph P. Alexander, Marilyn Crowe, Donny E. Hurst and Russell E. Bennett are charged with felony kidnaping, conspiracy and unlawful detention. Denver patrolman Mark Roggeman is charged with kidnaping and conspiracy.
In the April 1981 incident, Deitz was taken first to a house in Colorado Springs, where she was kept in a basement for about eight days. She was then flown to a "rehabilitation center" in Cleveland from which she escaped through a second-story window.
The alleged kidnaping was Deitz' parents' third attempt to wrest her from the influence of Maharaj Ji's Divine Light Mission. The elder Deitzes pleaded guilty last December to charges in the Denver incident and agreed not to interfere with their daughter for two years.