Warren Jeffs, the polygamist leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was convicted this week on two counts of sexual assault on a child. He spent years evading arrest, according the Associated Press, eventually making the FBI's Ten Most-Wanted List before his capture in 2006. His sentencing hearing began on Friday, following a trial during which he largely represented himself after firing several attorneys in the months preceeding.
For those who unfamiliar with the case of Jeffs, the details are gruesome. Jeffs, who had 78 wives in addition to his legal spouse, 24 of whom were under the age of 17, was convicted of the rape of two young followers, aged 12 and 14. The girls had grown up at Jeffs' Yearning for Zion ranch, according to authorities. The AP reports that as a prophet of his polygamist sect -- which has more than 10,000 members nationwide -- Jeffs "documented everything he did, keeping track of every marriage he performed, every young woman he wed, even recording his intimate moments." Many of those records were seized in a 2008 raid on a ranch his church operates near Eldorado, Texas, according to CNN. Items seized included "a 20-minute audiotape that began and ended with a man saying a prayer" that prosecutors alleged was the recording "of Jeffs' sexual assault of a then-12-year-old girl in the presence of three other 'wives.'" Ultimately, these records were used to secure the conviction. The jury deliberation lasted 3 1/2 hours.