Dallas Morning News - June 30, 2010
Polygamous sect leader refuses Texas extradition
By JENNIFER DOBNER / Associated Press
Utah prison officials say polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs has refused to sign a warrant seeking his extradition to Texas to face criminal charges.
The warrant was served at the Draper prison on June 24, said Mike Haddon, deputy director of the Department of Corrections.
Jerry Strickland, a spokesman for the Texas Attorney General's Office, confirmed Jeffs' refusal and said he has 30 days to appeal the warrant.
Jeffs, 54, faces charges of bigamy, sexual assault of a child and aggravated assault in Texas. The charges stem from alleged marriages to one girl under 17 and another under age 14, both in 2005.
Jeffs is the ecclesiastical head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The Utah church, which has practices polygamy in arranged marriages that have sometimes involved underage girls.
The Texas charges stem from evidence gathered in a raid on a church ranch near Eldorado in April 2008.
Records confiscated during the raid indicated multiple marriages to underage girls, some as young as 12. Jeffs, according to the records, had dozens of wives; 58 were listed in the year before the alleged marriages that led to his indictment.
Defense attorneys Wally Bugden and Tara Isaacson, who represented Jeffs during a 2007 criminal trial in southern Utah, declined comment late Monday.
In 2007, a Utah jury convicted Jeffs of two counts of rape as an accomplice for his role the 2001 marriage of a 14-year-old follower to her 19-year-old cousin. He is serving consecutive terms of five years to life in prison.
Until recently, Jeffs had been in a Mohave County, Ariz., jail, awaiting two trials on sexual misconduct charges related to marriages of underage FLDS girls.
Prosecutors asked a judge to drop the charges on June 6 after the two alleged victims said no longer wanted to proceed with prosecution.
Associated Press writer Michelle Roberts contributed from San Antonio.
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