Mark Chynoweth devoted himself to the Church of the Lamb — and it killed him

By Louie Fecou
Published: January 9, 2024 (Last updated: 3 weeks ago)
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Mark Chynoweth's Death and Links to The Church of Lamb
Ervil LeBaron's children | Image via Hulu

Mark Chynoweth was a follower of Ervil LeBaron and a member of The Church of the First Born of the Lamb of God, or the Church of the Lamb. He carried out the will of the cult leader and would even marry one of his daughters before eventually being gunned down as part of the “4 O’Clock Murders”, a spate of assassinations ordered by LeBaron before his eventual death in prison.

Who was Mark Chynoweth and How Did He Die?

Mark Chynoweth’s family became involved with the LeBaron cult when Joel LeBaron led it. However, in 1972, a split within the group saw Ervil LeBaron breaking away and forming his own faction, and Chynoweth would follow him to the Church of the Lamb.

The entire Chynoweth family became involved in the sect, and Mark would become a right-hand man for LeBaron, to the extent of enforcing his will and even allegedly being involved with the murder of rivals. However, in June of 1988, Mark was gunned down in his appliance shop in Texas. He would be shot three times by a man described as wearing a blue suit, as part of a coordinated series of assassinations that would become known as the “4 O’Clock Murders”. Also killed at the same time on the same day were Mark’s brother and young niece.

Another member of the group, Eddie Marston, was also dispatched similarly. The killings were arranged by an imprisoned Evril LeBron.

Who killed Mark Chynoweth?

Evril LeBaron would compile a list of individuals he felt had slighted him or gone against his will. Mark had grown away from the cult, electing not to take part in the polygamous nature of the sect, and LeBaron had him on a hit list, part of his Book of New Commandments that he had written while in jail.

Aaron LeBaron, who took control of the sordid organization after Ervil was jailed, pushed to have the wishes of Ervil carried out, and it was eventually reported that the man who killed Mark was William Heber LeBaron, one of the children sired by Ervil. He was the older brother of the new leader, Aaron. William was also allegedly behind the subsequent murder of Dan Jordan, another member of the group.

Heber LeBaron, killer of Mark Chynoweth

Heber LeBaron | Image via Hulu

Why were Mark Chynoweth and his family on Ervil LeBaron’s hit list?

Mark had decided to distance himself from the sect and tried to live a normal life with his wife and family. He turned his back on the usual practices of the group, and this was the catalyst for his murder.

What happened to William Heber LeBaron?

At the age of twenty, Heber LeBaron took on the leadership of the cult after his elder half-brother’s death. With him in charge, the group would immerse themselves in criminal activity. Eventually, he would be arrested in Arizona for operating a large auto theft ring. Further charges were brought against him for attempted murder while being involved in a bank robbery and after implementing the 4 O’Clock Murders.

His half-brother Richard would testify against him, and he would be charged with killing Mark, Mark’s brother Duane and his niece Jennifer, and Eddie Marston.

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