“I went over to Brenda, and I prayed,” cried Allen Lafferty during the 1980s court case that would send his two brothers to prison for murdering his wife and daughter. When Allen Lafferty arrived home from work on July 24, 1984, he expected to find his wife and 15-month-old daughter waiting on him. He did not expect to find his wife and daughter dead in their home. The murder of Brenda Lafferty and her baby girl shocked the nation. The case only got worse when it was discovered that it was her own brother-in-law who took her life and the life of her small daughter. The story of Brenda Lafferty’s murder is both a book and a television series released on Hulu in 2022. What happened to Brenda Lafferty and her daughter?
The Story of Under the Banner of Heaven
The book, released in 2003, looks at the heavily practiced Utah-based religion of Mormonism and the murders of Brenda and Erica Lafferty. The book details the extremism of the religion and how it played into the deaths of this young woman and her daughter. But that’s not the point; the point is that this woman was murdered, and we want to know why. The story is sad, but the murderers did not attempt to hide their reasoning or deny that they did this. Here’s the story.
Allen Lafferty and His Family
Allen Lafferty married Brenda. Together, they had a daughter named Erica. Marrying into the Lafferty family gave Brenda a much larger family. She welcomed five brothers-in-law at the time of her marriage to Allen. He is the youngest of six boys. Their family proudly belonged to the Church of Latter Day Saints and held onto some long-since abandoned beliefs. Number one, they did not believe in modern medicine, which caused their own father to losing his battle with diabetes. Their father taught them the government is not to be trusted, and he was all about being married to multiple women – or belonging to a polyamorous relationship. Two brothers, Ron and Dan, were even more extreme than their father, and the church excommunicated the brothers.
In the early 80s, Dan chose to take on a second wife and add to his family – his first wife was on board with this. Ron’s story is a little more complicated. His own wife, Diana, was not on board with him taking a second wife or marrying off their daughters into polygamous relationships. She took their kids, and she left her husband. Ron then blamed his sister-in-law, Brenda Lafferty, for his wife leaving him. His wife liked Brenda, but he did not like her. He found her too progressive, and he found her too educated. He blamed Brenda.
The Murder of Brenda Lafferty and Erica
When it came to light that Dan and Ron Lafferty murdered their sister-in-law and niece in cold blood, they were honest about it. God told them to do it; it was their defense. Ron said that God told him they needed to kill Brenda and Erica and that he was the mouth of God. He convinced his brother that he was the arm of God, and he even went so far as to share these things with the rest of his family – including his brother Allen. Allen, of course, vowed to protect his family at any cost. Yet, it did not work. His brother murdered his wife and daughter.
They ran, too. They were picked up in Nevada to get lunch. They were then arrested and tried. Dan was found competent to stand trial. He was sentenced to two life sentences without the possibility of parole. Ron, on the other hand, was sentenced to death. It was argued years later that he was not competent to stand trial, and he was re-tried in 1991. In 1996, he was found guilty a second time, and he was also sentenced to death.
Where are the Brothers Now?
Dan Lafferty remains in prison. He will live there until he dies there. However, Ron Lafferty was sentenced to death, but he died in prison at 79. His death occurred due to natural causes in 2019. The state did not have the opportunity to live out his death sentence. Allen Lafferty lives a much quieter life. He reportedly remarried and started a family with his new wife. There are some rumors he lived in Los Angeles for a while, working for a production company. He is still a member of the church, and he and his family now reportedly live in Utah. Not much is known about his new family, and we imagine he would like to keep it that way as he continues to mourn the deaths of his wife and daughter.