Polygamist preacher gets life behind bars

This undated file photo provided by the Utah Department of Corrections shows polygamist leader Warren Jeffs. Polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs was found guilty of sexually assaulting two young girls by a Texas jury on August 4, 2011 (AFP Photo / Utah Department of Corrections)
It only took 40 minutes for a jury in San Angelo, Texas to come up with a sentence for polygamist preacher and convicted sex criminal Warren Jeffs this morning. Shortly after 12 p.m. EST today, jurors sentenced Jeffs to a life behind bars.

Following a brief and bizarre trial in which the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints leader represented himself on charges of sexual assault against two minors, the case came to a close on Tuesday morning with a brief deliberation that left jurors convinced that Jeffs should spend his life in prison for two counts of sexual assault of a child.

Before jurors began considering sentencing this morning, prosecutor Eric Nichols told jurors that Jeffs “perverted a religion to his own ends” and treated women and children as "property for sexual gratification and child bearing."

As the sentencing phase of the trial began on Monday, jurors were presented with other accounts of Jeffs’, including allegations that he took on six dozen wives, including a handful of those underage.

Prosecutor Nichols had asked the jury to consider a life sentence, noting that “this is not the prosecution of a people,” but rather “the prosecution to protect a people.”