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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Polygamist David Ortell Kingston was released from prison Tuesday after serving four years of a potential 10-year sentence for incest with his underage niece, who testified she was forced to become his 15th wife.
"He walked out the front door at the prison about 10 minutes ago," said Jack Ford, spokesman for the department of corrections just after 10 a.m.
Kingston was convicted of third-degree felony incest and unlawful sexual contact with a minor and was sentenced in 1999 to two consecutive terms of zero to five years in prison.
Rather than parole him, the state Board of Pardons and Parole opted to terminate his sentence. As a result, the prison has no responsibility to follow up on Kingston.
"Normally we have to know where you're going to be living who you're going to be living with ... not in this case," said Ford.
Todd Utzinger, one of Kingston's former attorneys, said the parole board's decision to not supervise Kingston recognizes that "he has taken full responsibility and is prepared to go on and live a crime-free life.
"In all likelihood, you will never see David Kingston committing a new crime," he said.
Kingston was an accountant for The Latter Day Church of Christ, one of Utah's most secretive polygamous sects. It is believed to have about 1,000 members a $150 million business empire in six Western states. Marriages of half-sisters, first cousins, nieces and aunts are part of their religious beliefs.
Kingston is the brother of church leader Paul Kingston. David Kingston's 16-year-old wife was the daughter of another brother, John Daniel Kingston, who was sentenced to 28 weeks in jail for severely beating his daughter after she attempted to flee the marriage.
Until losing an appeal, Kingston denied having had sex with his niece.
During his parole hearing last August, he admitted for the first time that he had sex with the girl. He vowed never again to commit incest or have sex with an underage girl.
Kingston also told a parole hearing officer he would "encourage (family members) to follow the law." He added: "I recognize the hurt and sorrow I have caused (the victim) and my family."
Parole board hearing officer Kent Jones said the evidence showed that Kingston forced himself upon a girl who was repulsed by him. However, Kingston maintained that the girl spoke to friends and family about having a relationship with him, and the two were wed in a spiritual ceremony only after the girl and her family all agreed to it. Jones recommended he be released.
Kingston was described by prison officials as a model prisoner, who tutored inmates trying to complete high school and worked as a paid teaching assistant in the prison's college program.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)