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Jeffs Is Guilty, Sentencing Phase To Last Less Than A Week
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Jeffs is Guilty, Sentencing Phase to Last Less Than A Week

Warren Jeffs, the self proclaimed Messiah and direct messenger of God has been found guilty by a jury of his peers and now faces the sentencing in his trial on two counts of sexual assault of a child. The often bizarre trial ended rather quietly; the prosecution rested and Jeffs called but one witness in his own defense. That witness, a church elder did not speak about Warren Jeffs, however, nor did Jeffs ask him any questions. Instead, JD Roundy read from the Book of Mormon for about ten minutes before he left the witness stand. Jeffs then took that opportunity to rest his case.

Judge Barbra Walther had repeatedly encouraged Jeffs to consult with his attorneys to build his defense but he refused to do so. Instead, he tried, three times to have Walther removed from the trial, unsuccessfully. Jeffs also resorted to theatrics and other bizarre behavior at times during the hearings, but in the end, the case went ahead as it had been planned.

The jury was given instruction to weigh the evidence that had been presented and not to give credence to some of the things that Jeffs had spoke about in court. They were also told that the case was not about religious freedoms or religious persecution. The jury was out of the room during a break when Jeffs had made threats against all who would seek to punish him- earning him a warning from the Judge that further threats would not be tolerated.

After being given their instructions, the jury deliberated for under four hours and came back with a guilty verdict. The sentencing phase began after the court took a short break and according to the prosecutors is expected to take less than a week to complete. Jeffs could face a sentence of over one hundred years in prison. Eleven other members of the church were also arrested for similar charges with seven of them already convicted. those seven received prison sentences that ranged from six years to seventy five years.

Jeffs, who is 55 years old, has one legal wife as well as 78 spiritual wives. Twenty four of those additional wives are underage, including the fifteen year old and twelve year old that he was charged with assaulting. The fifteen year old is the mother of one of his children according to a DNA expert who testified in the trial. Jeffs, who kept journals and audio tapes of all of his actions could be heard on one of those tapes having sex with the younger of the girls after instructing her to feel the “spirit of God”.

In addition to the two charges he was convicted of, Jeffs will face trial for charges of polygamy later this year. The church believes that each man must have at least three wives to be allowed into heaven, a belief that was ended a century ago by mainstream Mormons.


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