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Tuesday, August 9, 2011
MEDIAEVAL TEXAS?: Warren Jeffs gets life in prison for sex with underage girls!
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BY LINDSAY WHITEHURST, The Salt Lake Tribune / First published 1 hour ago.
Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs is escorted into the Tom Green County Courthouse, Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2011, in San Angelo, Texas. Jeffs was found guilty on two counts of sexual assault of a child and could face up to 119 years in prison. The jury is set to hear the closing arguments in the penalty phase of the trial Tuesday. (AP Photo/San Angelo Standard-Times, Patrick Dove).
Jurors deliberated for just under 30 minutes before ordering Jeffs to serve life in prison on one count of aggravated sexual assault of a child and 20 years in prison on one count of sexual assault of a child. They also determined Jeffs must pay a $10,000 fine.
In a closing statement given Tuesday morning, prosecutor Eric Nichols told the jury the 55-year-old Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints leader was a man who "perverted a religion to his own ends" and treated women and children not as human beings but as "property for sexual gratification and child bearing."
"Evidence is this case shows this is not the prosecution of a people, this is a prosecution to protect a people," Nichols said.
Following the sentencing, Nichols said "this justice has been long in coming."
"Rarely in the state of Texas justice system have we ever encountered a person such as Warren Jeffs whose crimes span decades...and involve hundreds of victims," he said.
Reacting to the sentence, former FLDS spokesman Willie Jessop said "everyone in the church has to take responsibility."
"We built this golden calf," he said of Jeffs. "Now we have to decide do we love god or do we love this golden calf."