Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs sent to Utah State Prison after Arizona charges dismissed
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs has been transported from a Kingman jail to a state prison in Draper, Utah, nearly one week after the charges he faced in Arizona were dismissed.
Mohave County sheriff's spokeswoman Trish Carter said Jeffs was flown safely to the prison just outside Salt Lake City on Tuesday morning under high security. He had been jailed in Kingman since February 2008.
Utah Department of Corrections spokesman Steve Gehrke said a medical team was assessing Jeffs, who was involved in several hunger strikes and had to be force-fed while in custody. Corrections staff will further assess Jeffs to best determine where he will be housed, Gehrke said.
Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith dropped the Arizona cases against Jeffs last week, saying the two alleged victims no longer wanted to proceed with prosecution. Jeffs had been facing four counts of being an accomplice to sexual conduct with a minor, stemming from two arranged marriages between teenage girls and their older male relatives.
A judge granted Smith's request Wednesday and ordered that Jeffs be moved to Utah, where his 2007 convictions on two counts of rape as an accomplice are on appeal.
Jeffs faces more serious charges in Texas, and his attorney has said he would fight any attempt at extradition to that state. Jeffs was indicted on charges of sexual assault of a child and bigamy, months after authorities raided the Yearning for Zion ranch at Eldorado in April 2008.
Jeffs, the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, commands followers who live in the twin communities of Colorado City and Hildale, Utah.
The FLDS practice polygamy in arranged marriages, a tradition tied to the early theology of the mainstream Mormon church. Mormons denounced the practice in the 1890s.