Unclear how pastor will pay judgment

Monday, May 6, 2002

LEBANON, Mo. -- Gordon Winrod has been ordered to pay $26.1 million in damages for abducting his grandchildren, but it's unclear how the Ozark County pastor will come up with the money.

After four and a half hours of deliberation Saturday a Laclede County jury decided that Winrod, 74, his son, Stephen, and daughter, Carol, must pay the damages to Erika Leppert, her brother, Nathan Leppert, their father, Tim Leppert, and uncle Joel Leppert.

The Lepperts' lawyer, David Pointer, had asked for about $20 million in actual and punitive damages against Winrod, who's serving 30 years in prison for abducting six of his grandchildren and keeping them hidden on his 400-acre farm in rural Gainesville.

Pointer said it's difficult to determine how much the Winrods are worth because the family doesn't believe in banks. Aside from the 400 acres, Winrod told the court that the church building is worth about $50,000.

Pointer claimed that the Lepperts deserved to be compensated for the bills they owe to the North Dakota State Hospital, where Joel's daughter, Stephanie, and Tim's daughter, Donna, spent months for psychiatric treatment after authorities freed them from their grandfather's farm.

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