Warren Jeffs found ‘convulsive’ in jail
LAS VEGAS ” Polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs was found “convulsive,” weak and feverish in an Arizona jail cell before he was hospitalized under tight security in Las Vegas, a sheriff’s spokeswoman said Wednesday.
The 52-year-old president of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was found Tuesday “in a weakened state of health, acting in a convulsive manner, shaking, and running a fever,” said Trish Carter, spokeswoman for Mohave County Sheriff Tom Sheahan.
Jeffs had “sporadic eating habits” and may have lost weight in the 133 days he was held in the Mohave County jail in Kingman, Carter said.
But Carter said she couldn’t say Jeffs had been fasting as he did while jailed in Utah over the past two years.
“This is our watch. He’s our inmate,” Carter said.
“Our job is to ensure he’s in good health and ready to go to trial. If he has any medical conditions, we are going to have deputies and detention officers make sure he’s safe and healthy.”
Jeffs is charged in Arizona as an accomplice with four counts of sexual conduct with a minor stemming from the marriages of two girls. He also had been charged with four counts of incest as an accomplice, but those charges were dropped last month.
In dropping the charges, Mohave County Superior Court Judge Steven Conn found that Arizona’s incest law does not apply to the arranged marriages of two teenage girls and their older male relatives.
Sheahan issued a statement saying Jeffs would be “under heavy guard 24 hours a day” while being treated at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center for “an unknown medical condition.”
Jeffs was first taken from jail to Kingman Regional Medical Center, and then flown by medical helicopter about 100 miles to Las Vegas.
Two Mohave County sheriff’s deputies and four detention officers were assigned to the Las Vegas hospital to protect Jeffs and prevent escape, Carter said. She said she knew of no threats against Jeffs.
Las Vegas police also were visible around the hospital several blocks east of the Las Vegas Strip, but department officials declined comment.
Hospital spokesman Dan Davidson said no patient was listed under Jeffs’ name.
Jeffs’ Arizona lawyer, Mike Piccarreta of Tucson, acknowledged that Jeffs was hospitalized, but refused to say why.
“I really don’t want to comment on his personal medical condition,” Piccarreta said.
“I think anyone that was being incarcerated as a result of persecution for his religious beliefs would not be in good health.”
Jeffs’ Las Vegas lawyer, Richard Wright, did not immediately respond to messages from The Associated Press.
Carter said Jeffs has been jailed in what she called protective custody for his safety and to prevent escape.
He was kept alone in his cell for 23 hours a day, and allowed one hour of recreation while remaining segregated from other inmates.
Jeffs heads the FLDS, an insular faith of nearly 6,000 followers that practices polygamy in arranged marriages that have sometimes involved underage girls.
One of their ranches was raided in west Texas in April, setting off a lengthy legal battle over the custody of hundreds of children.
Jeffs was convicted by a Utah jury last year of two counts of first-degree felony rape as an accomplice. He was sentenced to two consecutive terms of five years to life in prison for his role in the 2001 marriage of a 14-year-old follower to her 19-year-old cousin.
He was moved Feb. 26 to the Mohave County Jail in Kingman, the sheriff’s statement said.
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