Arizona Slaps New Charges Against Polygamist Leader

8 Eyewitness News, Las Vegas/September 28, 2006

There were new developments on Thursday in the case against polygamist leader Warren Jeffs.

Jeffs appeared via video in a Utah court -- where officials from the state of Arizona served two felony warrants charging the leader of the fundamentalist L.D.S. church with five counts of sexual conduct with a minor and one count of conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor.

What this does is start the extradition process to Arizona. Utah, Arizona, and Nevada are all connected to Warren Jeffs.

In Utah, he has been held without bail for two counts of rape as an accomplice. In Arizona his bail would be set at $600,000. An amount his followers could post.

Timing is going to be key. Arizona could extradite Jeffs before Utah gets the chance to put him on trial. Both charges, in Utah and Arizona, stem from Jeffs' role as the leader of the fundamentalist L.D.S. church.

Prosecutors in both states say he forced underage girls to marry older men. Then he coerced those girls to have sex with the men. A number of the marriages actually happened in nevada. The polygamist community is so close knit that it's been difficult for prosecutors to get victims to come forward.

Now both states have victims and both want him to serve time in their prisons. There will be an extradition hearing scheduled in Utah to see who tries him first.

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