Texas tosses bigamy charges against Warren Jeffs

Posted at 3:55 PM, Oct 17, 2012
and last updated 2012-10-17 19:20:27-04

ELDORADO, Texas — Prosecutors have dismissed bigamy charges against polygamist leader Warren Jeffs and three other FLDS members.

In court documents obtained by FOX 13 on Wednesday, the Texas Attorney General’s Office dismissed the charges. They point out that he is already serving a life sentence for child sex assault.

“These sentences were ordered to be served consecutively. There is no pending appeal of the sentences,” prosecutors wrote. “Warren Steed Jeffs is 56 years old and having been sentenced to life plus twenty years in prison, will likely not be eligible for parole until the year 2046, when he is 90 years old.”

Texas prosecutors dismissed the charges without prejudice, meaning they can re-file them if needed. Charges were also dismissed against FLDS members Abram Harker Jeffs, Merril Leroy Jessop, and Raymond Merril Jessop.

The cases stem from the 2008 raid on the Fundamentalist LDS Church’s Yearning For Zion ranch. Authorities responded to what they believed was a call from a girl in distress (it is now believed to have been a hoax call). Police and child welfare authorities said that when they got on the ranch, they found evidence of child sex assault and a judge ordered hundreds of FLDS children to be taken into state protective custody. An appeals court later ordered the children returned to their parents.

Jeffs and a dozen other men were convicted of charges related to child-bride marriages taking place.