Court hearing delayed for Utah polygamist Warren Jeffs, who remains jailed without bail

Monday, September 11th 2006, 11:08 am
By: News On 6

ST. GEORGE, Utah (AP) _ A preliminary hearing for polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs was postponed Monday at the request of one of his newly hired lawyers.

Jeffs, the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is charged with two felony counts of rape as an accomplice, accused of arranging a ``spiritual marriage'' between an underage girl and an older man.

Court documents filed by Washington County Attorney Brock Belnap do not identify the girl or the husband, but indicated that she fought the marriage despite being directed by Jeffs to give herself ``mind, body and soul, to your husband like you're supposed to.''

Jeffs, 50, made a brief court appearance Monday via closed-circuit television from the Purgatory Correction Facility, where he is being held without bail.

He was arrested by the Nevada Highway Patrol on Aug. 28 during a traffic stop north of Las Vegas. His Las Vegas attorney, Richard Wright, is not licensed to practice in Utah, so lawyers Walter Bugden and Tara Isaacson were hired over the weekend to represent him.

The judge granted Isaacson's request to delay a preliminary hearing initially set for Sept. 19 but did not immediate set a new date. During that hearing, the case against Jeffs is to be outlined.

The Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a polygamy-practicing sect of nearly 10,000 people who mostly make their homes in twin towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City, Ariz. The sect broke away from the Mormon church more than a century ago and has been disavowed by the Mormons.

Besides the Utah charges, Jeffs is facing two felony charges in Mohave County, Ariz., for a similarly arranged marriage involving an underage girl. He's expected to be prosecuted there after Utah proceedings have concluded.