PROVO, Utah – A couple accused of kidnapping their daughter on the eve of her wedding pleaded guilty Wednesday to a reduced charge and a judge ordered mental-health professionals to evaluate them for actions he called "clearly irrational."
Julia Redd, 58, and husband Lemuel Redd, 60, pleaded guilty to custodial interference, a misdemeanor, capping the legal end of a family spat over their daughter Julianna's choice for a husband.
The plea spared them jail time. A judge immediately sentenced the parents to three years of probation and ordered them to pay $2,000, the cost of a meal that was missed on the eve of the original wedding date, along with the mental evaluation.
"This is a tragedy and it clearly involves, in my view, mental illness," 4th District Judge James Taylor said.
"Mr. and Mrs. Redd, you have done things that are clTom early irrational," the judge said.
The parents had originally been charged with kidnapping their 20-year-old daughter in August 2006. The Redds had picked up her to take her shopping to buy religious garments for the ceremony in a Mormon temple, but instead drove more than 200 miles to Grand Junction, Colo., where they spent a night in a motel.
Their daughter has said her parents berated her on the drive, accusing her of breaking the Old Testament's Fourth Commandment, which says to honor parents. She said they called her fiance "evil and wicked."
Julianna and Perry Myers were married Aug. 8, 2006, three days later than planned — and without the Redds in attendance.
A court order has prevented the Redds from speaking to their daughter or son-in-law for more than a year. The young couple had a daughter last spring.
Julianna Myers, now 21, told the judge that she is afraid of her mother and was disappointed that it took more than a year for her parents to accept responsibility.
"We don't tell anybody where we live. We have a P.O. box," said Myers, who added that her mother "would stop at nothing" to learn where she lives.
In an interview Tuesday night, Julia Redd said she had concerns about Perry Myers, and their daughter "was only 20 years old."
"We're not against marriage. We just believe people need to be wise," she told The Associated Press.
Defense attorney Rhome Zabriskie said the parents hope they can mend fences.
"Julia recognizes this is a huge mistake she's made in her life," he said.
Lemuel Redd told reporters: "We have apologized and we are sorry."
Taylor ordered the Redds to submit to a mental evaluation, marriage counseling and a "home atmosphere" study by professionals. He wants experts to evaluate what might be wrong with the family. A teenage daughter still lives at home with the Redds in Monticello, a small town in southern Utah.
The judge said the Redds must follow any therapy or other recommendations made by professionals. If the terms of probation are violated, the parents could be sent to jail.