Trial witnesses say imprisoned prophet runs polygamous towns

Tucson News Now/January 21, 2016

By Mike Watkiss

Phoenix -- Day two of the Department of Justice's civil rights lawsuit against Colorado City and Hildale brought lots of damning testimony from two former followers of Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints prophet Warren Jeffs.

Dowayne Barlow told jurors that despite being locked up for life for the rape of two young girls, Jeffs continues to call the shots in the isolated twin border towns.

He also told jurors of an elaborate network of secret couriers that was set up to transport aid and support to Jeffs while he was a fugitive and on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List.

Barlow said FLDS cops were among those who dropped off packages for Jeffs while he was on the run, and that men in the community were asked by leaders if they were "willing to lay their lives on the line and take a bullet for [Jeffs]."

Isaac Wyler, another former Jeffs follower and now vocal critic, took the stand Thursday afternoon.

Wyler told the court that Jeffs and his FLDS church control the twin towns.

"He runs the towns," Wyler said.  "They work for him."

Wyler also told jurors about being harassed and intimidated by his FLDS neighbors and the local FLDS cops after Jeffs excommunicated him from the church in 2004.  

Wyler says dozens of crimes have been committed against him at his horse property, including the destruction of water lines and fences and release of his animals from their pens.

Colorado City and Hildale are accused of functioning as an arm of the FLDS church and discriminating against nonbelievers. The communities have denied the allegations.

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