Warren Jeffs: Polygamist Leader Says God Demands Judge's Removal In Child Sex Assault Trial
SAN ANGELO, Texas -- A forensic analyst says DNA evidence shows with 99.99 percent certainty that a polygamist religious leader fathered a child with a 15-year-old girl.
Warren Jeffs is head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which believes polygamy bring exaltation in heaven. He faces charges of sexual assault with two underage girls and, if convicted, could go to jail for life.
Amy Smuts, of the Human Identification Center at the University of North Texas, testified Monday that Jeffs' DNA had 15 markers match a DNA sample taken from a girl born to a 15-year-old mother. She said that made her more than 99.99 percent certain Jeffs was the child's father.
FLDS followers believe the 55-year-old Jeffs can speak for God on earth.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.
Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs was unsuccessful Monday in a third attempt to remove the Texas judge overseeing his child sex assault case - this time based on the claim that God demands a change.
The head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints filed a motion purporting to quote God as saying state District Judge Barbara Walther should "step away from this abuse of power against a religious and pure faith in the Lord."
After a short recess to assess the motion, Walther ruled the trial would continue under new Texas Supreme Court rules that went into effect Monday. The new standard no longer requires an immediate hearing to recuse a judge after evidence in a case has been heard. Walther said a hearing would be held later.
Jeffs is accused of sexually assaulting two underage girls he took as brides. His church is an offshoot of mainstream Mormonism that believes polygamy brings exaltation in Heaven, and followers see Jeffs as God's earthly spokesman.
The 55-year-old fired his attorneys last week and has representing himself. He gave a speech defending polygamy Friday, then read a statement he said was from God. The statement promised "sickness and death" unless what it described as the persecution of his religion ceased.
Monday's filing included what Jeffs said was a revelation to early Mormon church leader Joseph Smith Jr., dated July 12, 1843. Jeffs also filed what he said were 29 orders from the Lord when they spoke last week, including one in which God sent "a crippling disease upon (Walther) which shall take her life soon."
Walther contracted polio when she was younger and walks with a limp.
"I, your Lord, say to you, I shall bring to light your evil intent now, before all people, to destroy my church on earth," Jeffs wrote in the filing.
Jeffs went through seven attorneys in the six months leading up to the trial, and prosecutors accused him of changing lawyers just to stall. Walther denied a request for a delay after the last firing, saying allowing another postponement would be tantamount to giving in to manipulation of the court.
Jeffs initially sat silently in the courtroom while prosecutors presented their case, but then he abruptly changed course with Friday's nearly hourlong speech on polygamy.
The charges against Jeffs stem from a massive police raid in April 2008 at Yearning For Zion, a church compound about 45 miles south of the oil and gas town of San Angelo.
Authorities moved in after receiving an anonymous call to an abuse shelter, alleging that girls on the compound were being forced into polygamist marriages. The call turned out to be a hoax, made by a woman in Colorado, and more than 400 children who had been placed in state custody were returned to their families.
But police saw underage girls at the compound who were clearly pregnant - prompting the charges against Jeffs and 11 other FLDS men. All seven sect members who have been prosecuted so far were convicted of crimes including sexual assault and bigamy, receiving prison sentences of between six and 75 years.