MIDLAND (AP) – A former lieutenant to polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs will go on trial in West Texas for bigamy charges.
Wendell Loy Nielsen’s trial on three counts of bigamy is set to begin Wednesday. Nielsen and 11 other members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints were indicted after a 2008 raid on the church’s remote compound in West Texas.
Nielsen could get up to 10 years in prison. He reportedly refused to plead no contest and be sentenced to probation because he thought the proposed conditions were too restrictive.
Nielsen once served as FLDS president and counselor to Jeffs, now serving a life sentence.
FLDS teachings hold that polygamy brings exaltation in heaven. The mainstream Mormon church abandoned polygamy more than a century ago.
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