Alamo guilty on all counts

TEXARKANA, AR (KSLA) - For some people standing outside the federal courthouse in Texarkana, news of Tony Alamo's conviction in his sex-crimes trial was welcome.

"I think he got what he deserved. He shouldn't have done that with those girls," said one unidentified woman who was waiting to hear the final verdict.

The jury of nine men and three women took just over a day to find the 74-year-old Alamo guilty on charges he took girls as young as 9 across state lines for sex. Each charge in the 10-count indictment carries a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

As Alamo, whose real name is Bernie Hoffman, was removed from the courthouse under heavy security, hecklers could be heard calling out 'Bye Bye Bernie.'

One of those was ex-ministry member Dyann Jackson, who traveled from California to hear the verdict.

"A lot of people prayed for this outcome, especially the victims, the underage victims," she said.

Another ex-Alamo member outside the courthouse was Claudia Kochistringov. She said she was with the group for more than 12 years, but left when her husband was involved in the beating of a child.

"We knew that God would come through and expose Tony Alamo as the pervert, pedophile, and other things he is," she said.

The Alamo saga began in September of 2008, when federal agents raided the Alamo Christian Ministries Compound in Fouke, AR. It was the third raid on the compound since 1991.

Days later he was arrested in Arizona.

Alamo was charged with violating the Mann Act. Prosecutors said he would young girls outside of Arkansas to have sex with them. During the trial, several woman who were members of the ministry told of being married to Alamo and of the sexual abuse they suffered while at the Alamo compound.

During an interview while he was still in jail, Alamo denied he was a polygamist, but he didn't denounce the practice. "I don't see that at all," he said. "And besides, if I was a polygamist, it's not a crime God sends people to hell for. Are you saying God is wrong by condoning it? Moses had three wives."

Even as he was being led away, Alamo continued to defend his actions. When asked what he thought of the verdict, he said, "I'm just another prophet that's went (sic) to jail for the gospel."

Defense Attorney Don Ervin says this verdict is not the end of the fight.

"(We're) going to file a motion for a new trial. We are going to ask this court for a new trial for insufficient evidence," he said. "If we are not successful we will go to the Eighth District (Court of Appeals)."

Alamo will remain in the Bowie County Jail until his sentencing in six to eight weeks.

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