SAN ANGELO, Texas — Polygamist sect leader Warren Steed Jeffs was found guilty of child sex abuse on Thursday. The case stems from evidence that Jeffs took two young girls as his brides in what his church calls “spiritual marriage.” Jeffs, representing himself after firing seven defense attorneys, stood silent during his allotted time for a closing argument. At the end he murmured, “I am at peace.”
Earlier a jury member covered her face with her hands as the prosecution presented an audio sex tape between Jeffs and a twelve-year-old girl. A few days ago a forensic analyst testified that DNA samples left her over 99.99% certain that Jeffs fathered a 15-year-old’s baby. Jeffs didn’t cross-examine key witnesses other than requesting a follower of the polygamist sect to read passages from the Book of Mormon and to comment on the FLDS religion.
He twice tried to recuse Judge Barbara Walther with personal revelations from God. The prosecution argued that the trial was not about the religion of a people. Nichols said in his closing argument: “This case is about one individual, Warren Steed Jeffs, and his actions and what he himself has done.” Warren Jeffs faces up to 119 years in prison for sexual assault of a child and aggravated sexual assault of a child.
Photo credit: Associated Press.