Archive for Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs sentenced

November 21, 2007

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— A judge sentenced a polygamous-sect leader Tuesday to two consecutive terms of five years to life in prison for his role in the arranged marriage of teenage cousins.

Warren Jeffs, 51, was convicted of two counts of rape as an accomplice for his role in the marriage of a 14-year-old follower and her 19-year-old cousin in 2001. It will be up to the Utah parole board to decide how long he actually stays behind bars.

Jeffs is head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, whose members practice polygamy in arranged marriages that have often involved placing girls with older men. Most FLDS members live in the twin communities of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz., about 350 miles southeast of Salt Lake City.

Washington County prosecutors said Jeffs enticed Elissa Wall into marriage and sex against her will by telling her that the relationship was commanded by God and that any refusal would place her salvation at risk.

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