Warren Jeffs
Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. REUTERS

A Texas jury on Tuesday sentenced polygamist leader Warren Jeffs to life in prison plus 20 years for sexually assaulting two girls he took as "spiritual" brides.

Jeffs, who is head of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, was convicted on child sexual assault charges and was facing 119 years in prison. The conviction stems from a relationship he had with two of his young followers whom he took as brides in what the church calls "spiritual marriages."

Jeffs, 55, fired his defense team on July 28 and acted as his own attorney during the trial.

In April 2008, authorities raided the YFZ ranch near Eldorado, and took more than 400 children. A forensic analyst testified that Jeffs's DNA was an almost certain match to the child of a 15-year-old girl and he was also accused of assaulting a 12-year-old girl.