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Jury Finds Former Polygamist Leader Guilty Of Bigamy

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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.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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