Utah drops case against Warren Jeffs

Nov 9 2011 - 2:09pm

SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah prosecutors dropped charges Wednesday against a polygamist sect leader serving a life sentence in Texas in a separate case.

Warren Jeffs had been found guilty of rape by accomplice -- a 2007 conviction that was overturned last year by the Utah Supreme Court, which cited improper jury instructions by the trial judge.

"As a result of the conviction in Texas, we decided not to bring him back to Utah for a re-trial," said Brian Filter, senior deputy attorney for Washington County.

Jeffs is the ecclesiastical head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He was sentenced to life in prison in August on charges of sexually assaulting two of his underage brides.

The Utah case charged Jeffs with arranging an under-aged marriage involving Alicia Wall, who wrote a book about her experience. Jeffs had been accused of presiding over the marriage. The two felony charges of rape by accomplice involving Jeffs were the result of sexual encounters with a husband she said she didn't want to marry.

Allen Steed pleaded guilty in February to solemnization of a prohibited marriage -- Wall was 14 at the time -- and is serving 36 months' probation, Filter said.

Jeffs faces no other charges in Utah.

The decision to drop the case was made with the consent of the victim and Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff.

The Utah Supreme Court provided no guidance that would make another trial possible, Shurtleff spokesman Paul Murphy said. But given that Jeffs is serving a life sentence in Texas, there was little to gain by pursuing the Utah case, Murphy said.

 

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