Polygamist sect leader won't fight extradition to Utah
Polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs told a justice of the peace in Las Vegas Thursday he will not fight extradition to Utah, where he faces charges in connection with the marriages of young girls to older men.
Jeffs, 50, was led into the courtroom in shackles, flanked by heavily armed guards in bulletproof vests.
"Are you Warren Jeffs?" justice of the peace James Bixler asked.
"Yes," Jeffs replied in a soft voice, nodding his head.
He nodded again when Bixler asked if he would agree to be extradited to Utah.
Jeffs faces charges in both Utah and Arizona of being an accomplice to rape. Authorities in both states agreed Wednesday that he would be sent to Utah first because the case there is stronger and the penalty harsher— five years to life in prison.
Jeffs had been on the run for more than two years and on the FBI's Most Wanted List for the past three months before being pulled over Monday night by the Nevada Highway Patrol.
He initially gave an alias before confirming his identity to the trooper, who recognized him. Police seized about $50,000 in cash from the vehicle, along with a large number of cellphones, laptop computers and wigs.
In 2002 Jeffs took over the leadershipof the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which broke away from the Mormon Church when the Mormons disavowed polygamy more than a century ago.
The sect's followers include the 1,000-member community of Bountiful near Creston, B.C.
Prosecutors from Utah were in the courtroom and said they were ready to take Jeffs as soon as the necessary paperwork is completed, which will likely be in a few days.