HUNTSVILLE (AP) – Polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs was en route to a Texas state prison Tuesday night following his discharge from a hospital at another prison where he was treated after becoming sick while fasting, a state official said.
Jeffs was discharged Monday night from the state prison hospital in Galveston and will receive further treatment in a prison infirmary until he’s well enough to return to his cell, Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jason Clark said.
Clark declined to identify Jeffs’ destination for security reasons.
The head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was sentenced to life imprisonment last month after prosecutors used DNA evidence to show he fathered a child with a 15-year-old girl prosecutors say he took as one of his spiritual wives.
Earlier this month, Jeffs filed a handwritten motion seeking a new trial. He alleged that his religious freedoms were violated by the courts — an argument he also tried to make while defending himself during his trial.
Jeffs, 55, is scheduled to go on trial on bigamy charges in February in San Angelo.
He was initially assigned to a state prison about 100 miles southeast of Dallas to serve his life sentence for sexually assaulting underage girls. On Aug. 28, about three weeks after his conviction, he told corrections officers he had been fasting since the end of his trial and was ill. He then was taken to the Tyler hospital, about 45 miles from his prison before his transfer to the prison hospital.
That hospital shares quarters with the University of Texas Medical Branch, the Texas prison system’s chief medical provider.
This was not the first time Jeffs has required hospitalization in the years since he first was locked up.
He tried to hang himself in January 2007 while awaiting trial on rape charges in Washington County, Utah, according to court documents. He also threw himself against the walls of his cell and banged his head, although he later told a mental health expert he really wasn’t trying to kill himself. Around the same time, he was hospitalized for dehydration and depression.
In 2009, he was temporarily force-fed while in an Arizona jail.
Former church members have said Jeffs likely would continue to lead his Utah-based church from inside prison and that his followers likely still revere him as a prophet despite the considerable evidence at his trial showing he sexually assaulted girls as young as 12.
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