SAN ANGELO, Texas — Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison for sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl he took as a bride in what his church deemed a "spiritual marriage."Read the rest here.
The head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints also received a 20-year sentence for the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl.
He stood quietly Tuesday as the decision of the Texas jury was read. He received the maximum sentence on both counts. They are to be served consecutively.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark said the 55-year-old will be eligible for parole in 35 years.
Prosecutors had asked the jury for the life sentence after presenting their painstaking and sometimes graphic case, and rejected Jeffs' contention that he was being persecuted for his religious beliefs.
"The evidence in this case shows that this isn't a prosecution of a people," prosecutor Eric Nichols said in his closing argument. "This is a prosecution to protect people."