Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

FLDS Leader Warren Jeffs Sentenced to Life

Photo courtesy Reagan County Sheriff's Department

The spiritual leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a religious sect that practices polygamy, has been sentenced to life in prison.  The jury deliberated for less than 30 minutes, according to the AP.

 SAN ANGELO, Texas (AP) - Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs has been sentenced to life in prison for sexually assaulting two underage followers he took as brides in what his church deemed "spiritual marriages."      The head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints stood quietly as the decision of the Texas jury was read Tuesday. He received the maximum sentence on both counts. The jury deliberated less than half an hour.      The 55-year-old Jeffs was convicted Thursday. During the trial, prosecutors used DNA evidence to show Jeffs fathered a child with a 15-year-old and played an audio recording of what they said was him sexually assaulting a 12-year-old.      Jeffs is the eighth FLDS man convicted since a raid of a ranch run by the church, which believes polygamy brings exaltation in heaven.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott released this statement minutes ago:

“A Tom Green County jury today sentenced Warren Steed Jeffs to life in prison for the aggravated sexual assault of a twelve-year-old child. The jury also returned a 20-year sentence for sexual assault of a fifteen-year-old child. Jeffs will serve both sentences consecutively. Today’s sentences follow last Thursday’s verdicts finding Jeffs guilty of both crimes. “A total of 12 YFZ Ranch-related defendants have been indicted on sexual assault of a child, bigamy or other charges. Eight defendants have been convicted on felony charges and sentenced to prison. The other four defendants are awaiting trial. All prosecutions are being handled by the Office of the Attorney General, which is working in cooperation with 51st Judicial District Attorney Steve Lupton.”

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @KUTnathan.