Polygamist Warren Jeffs Convicted, Faces 119 Years

   on August 04 2011 8:35 PM
Warren Jeffs
A judge has granted FLDS leader Warren Jeffs' request to defend himself at a sexual assault trial. Reuters

A Texas jury convicted Warren Jeffs, the controversial figure of a fundamentalist Moron church, on child sexual assault late Thursday, ending a case that sprang open when his compound was raided and more than 450 children were taken by the police in 2008.

Jeffs, the head of The head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints stood stone-faced as the verdict was read, now faces 119 years behind bars.

The sentencing phase began after the verdict was announced and the judge said it could take up to three days.

The "spiritual leader" acted as his own attorney and claimed his religious rights were being trampled on and that God would avenge him if the trial continued.

Prosecutors convince a jury that Jeffs, 55, fathered a child wit ha 15 year-old and sexually assaulted a 12 year-old.

"It's a unique case with regard to the crimes involved at the YFZ Ranch," said Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. "If someone comes to Texas and assaults a 12-year-old and a 15-year-old, they're going to be put behind bars," Abbott told reporters.

The group, a fringe offshoot of the Mormon Church, came into the spotlight in 2008 when Texas police raided a sprawling compound near Eldorado and seized 468 boys and girls after allegations arose of systemic sexual abuse.

Representing Himself

Jeffs , who fired his lawyers, stood up and made several incoherent objections to what was being said.

He objected as an FBI agent began testifying on evidence discovered at his compound in Eldorado, Texas in a 2008 raid.

"You are now touching that which is sacred," he said referring to a document from the church, calling on the court to "render justice before sacred trust is trampled upon."

Some comments made outside the jury's presence included what he said had been a message received from God.

"I, the Lord God of heaven, call upon the court to cease this prosecution against my pure, holy way," Jeffs said.

"I shall send a scourge upon the counties of prosecutorial zeal to be humbled by sickness and death," he also added.

The judge in the case warned Jeffs would be removed if he threatened any of the jurors in the case.

 

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