Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs pleads not guilty to new charges
Warren Jeffs, the leader of a polygamous sect with about 1,000 followers in Bountiful, B.C., pleaded not guilty Wednesday to more sex charges involving teenage girls.
Last November, a Utah jury convicted Jeffs of being an accomplice to rape for performing a wedding between a man, 19, and a 14-year-old girl. He was sentenced to two consecutive terms of five years to life in prison. A Utah parole board will determine how long he remains behind bars.
The Arizona charges stem from the arranged marriages of a man in his early 50s to his 17-year-old relative and the marriage of the same teenagers that led to the Utah conviction.
Prosecutors in Arizona said the Utah conviction doesn't prevent them from bringing charges in their state.
Jeffs is charged in Arizona as an accomplice with four counts of incest and four counts of sexual contact with a minor in an indictment issued last year. He also was arraigned on two additional counts of sexual conduct with a minor and one count of conspiracy to sexual conduct with a minor from a case filed in 2005.
He wore an orange prison uniform, with ankle and wrist cuffs and didn't speak during the appearance, except to say "yes" when asked by the judge whether he was Warren Jeffs.
His lawyers say they will ask for the trial to be moved away from Kingman, Ariz., because it is too close to the site of his first trial in St. George, Utah.
Jeffs is being held in the local county jail until his next hearing on March 19.
A self-described prophet, Jeffs, 51, is the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which broke away from the Mormon church when the latter disavowed polygamy more than a century ago.
Nevada police arrested Jeffs in August 2006 after he had been on the run for more than two years, appearing on the FBI's Most Wanted list.
Jeffs took over the leadership of the sect in 2002.
With files from the Associated Press