Jury finds ex-polygamist leader guilty of bigamy
MIDLAND (AP) – A West Texas jury has found a former lieutenant to polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs guilty of bigamy.
Wendell Loy Nielsen was found guilty of three counts of bigamy. Prosecutors had accused the 71-year-old Nielsen of unlawfully marrying three women besides his legal wife. His defense attorney had argued that “celestial marriages” weren’t a violation of state bigamy laws.
Nielsen is the former president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He was one of 12 people indicted after a 2008 raid on the polygamist sect’s West Texas ranch.
The San Angelo Standard-Times reports that Nielsen showed no immediate reaction to the verdict.
He faces up to 10 years in prison after rejecting a plea deal last year that would have allowed him to avoid jail.
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