Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The False Prophet: Warren Jeffs

Trial Update:
From Uncertainty to Relief

It wasn't what everyone expected, at least not initially. On September 24, 2007, the jury of seven women and five men came back deadlocked on one of the two counts of accomplice to rape against Warren. The count to which the jurors could not come to a consensus was that relating to the occasion later in the marriage when Warren allegedly commanded Elissa Wall, formerly known as "Jane Doe," to submit to nonconsensual sex with her cousin even though she had approached him and told him she felt uncomfortable about her husband's sexual advances. At the time, Warren allegedly told Wall to "repent" and give herself "mind and body and soul" to her husband, Emanuella Grinberg reported for Court TV.

Prosecutors were deeply concerned that, when Judge James Shuter sent jurors back to deliberate the remaining accomplice to rape count concerning the alleged forced sexual relations immediately after Wall's marriage to her cousin, the jury would come back with a similar verdict on the earlier count. However, that proved not to be the case. Shortly after the jurors announced their deadlock, the trial took an unexpected turn. One of the female jurors was dismissed from the panel for unknown reasons and replaced by an alternate juror that same day. Those who feared Warren might get a break were put at ease when the judge ordered jurors to disregard the dismissed juror's previous comments and start deliberations anew.

The following day, a decision was reached on both counts. Now the jury's verdict was unanimous, finding him guilty beyond reasonable doubt. The judged ordered Warren, who exhibited no reaction to the verdict, to return to jail and await sentencing, which could range from five years to life in prison.

Soon after the verdict was read, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff issued a statement saying, "This verdict is a victory for the many victims who have been hurt by Warren Jeffs and have been too afraid to speak out. Everyone should now know that no one is above the law, religion is not an excuse for abuse and every victim has a right to be heard," Patrice Germain reported for The Spectrum. It was a sentiment felt by many.

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