Bible-quoting sex offender sentenced 48 years to life

Daniel Lyons’ van in a canyon off the side of Rim Rock Drive on the Colorado National Monument, Jan. 22, 2009.

Reciting Bible passages and asking for forgiveness in a rambling 15-minute speech prepared for the judge, a Clifton man on Tuesday was sentenced to 48 years to life in prison for sexually assaulting a young girl.

Daniel John Lyons, 35, read aloud passages of Scripture, telling the victim’s family and his own family, “I forgive all of you here today who have stood against me and forsaken me, even those who bear false witness against me.”

Lyons’ speech was interrupted by District Judge Brian Flynn. “You need to finish up, Mr. Lyons,” the judge said. “If you’re just going to read the Bible to us. …”

The mother of Lyons’ victim stood up and left the courtroom during the speech, visibly upset. She asked Flynn to impose the maximum term, saying Lyons had “taught my children to fear love.”

“If Daniel ever gets out, he’d kill my entire family and never feel any shame or remorse about it,” the mother told the judge.

David Eisner, Lyons’ attorney, rejected the suggestion.

“When he left after his first interview (with law enforcement), his first thought was to try and kill himself,” Eisner said, referring to the January 2009 suicide attempt in which Lyons tried to drive his van off Colorado National Monument. “He was more concerned about his shame, not retribution against the family.”

Lyons’ penalty was the maximum available to Flynn following Lyons’ conviction in a December jury trial on multiple counts of sexual assault. Lyons’ victim, now 5, told investigators in a Jan. 20, 2009, videotaped interview that she had been sexually assaulted by him five times.

Hours after Lyons was interviewed in the case by a Mesa County Sheriff’s Department investigator on Jan. 21, 2009, Lyons took his van up Rim Rock Drive and attempted to drive off the roadway. The van, however, became stuck on a rock ledge, teetering about 170 feet above the floor of Red Canyon in Colorado National Monument.

Citing a presentence report, Deputy District Attorney Jason Conley said Lyons continues to view himself as “being persecuted” and a victim in the matter.

Lyons told an interviewer that he “hates himself for being honest and hates himself for allowing the community to fail him” and the victim, Conley said.


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