One defendent now faces arraignment,
other pleads guilty in kidnapping case
By James Tilson
Mar. 1, 2018
MANTI—John Coltharp entered his plea of “not guilty” Wednesday, Feb. 21, in 6th District Court in Manti.
Coltharp was charged in Sanpete County late last year after he was arrested at a former family residence in Spring City.
At that time, he refused to tell police where his four children were located, even though a divorce court had awarded custody of the children to the mother.
On Wednesday, Feb
. 21, Coltharp entered his plea in both of the cases against him.
In the first case, he is charged with one count of first-degree felony child kidnapping and one count of second-degree felony obstruction of justice.
In the second case, he is charged with first-degree felony sodomy and second-degree felony child bigamy.
Coltharp originally was scheduled to waive a preliminary hearing. Saying “there is no chance in [the court] not binding it over to trial, so I don’t want to waste time,” Coltharp asked the court to not hold the hearing and prepare the case for trial.
Paul Frischknecht, Coltharp’s attorney, told Judge Marvin Bagley that he had spoken to his client before the hearing regarding the preliminary hearing and also about a possible plea agreement.
Frischknecht told Bagley that Coltharp was not interested in a plea deal and wanted the case to go to trial.
After waiving the preliminary hearing and accepting Coltharp’s not guilty pleas, the judge set Coltharp’s cases in the court calendar for a pretrial conference on March 21 at 10 a.m.
Coltharp’s co-defendant, Samuel Shaffer, who was also scheduled to appear in the same district court on the same day, instead appeared in 5th District Court in Iron County to enter a guilty plea in his case there.
The four Coltharp children were located in Iron County, along with two children of Shaffer.
Shaffer pled guilty to first-degree felony rape and second-degree felony child abuse.
He will face at least 25 years in prison for the rape charge and possibly as much as life in prison. The child-abuse charge carries a sentence of 1-15 years, which could run concurrently with the rape charge or could run consecutively.
Shaffer faces two first-degree felony sodomy charges, one second-degree felony obstruction of justice charge, one second-degree felony child-bigamy charge and one misdemeanor lewdness charge in his case in Sanpete County.
Shaffer’s sentencing date is April 10 in Iron County.