|Jeffs will be returned to Utah|
Seized documents reveal details of a life on the run
By Ben Winslow and Nancy Perkins|
Deseret Morning News
ST. GEORGE — Polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, on the run from the law, had a list of safe houses and the names of people who facilitated his eluding capture.
In documents seized by police when Jeffs was arrested late Monday night, details about his intricate network support were revealed, including maps, lists of individuals contributing money and a list of people providing safe houses.
Also included in the seizure was a directive from the man once on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List; "So, I have to be hiding in my travels, not let anyone know. And when I come to a land of refuge, you must not reveal where I am in your phone calls and your letters."
That evidence, revealed in court papers filed in St. George's Fifth District Court, is what prompted Washington County prosecutors on Wednesday to seek a no-bail order on Jeffs.
Jeffs waived extradition on criminal charges of rape as an accomplice for arranging child bride marriages Thursday after a brief court appearance in a Las Vegas.
Dressed in a blue jail jumpsuit with his hands cuffed to his waist, Jeffs spoke softly as he answered questions from a Las Vegas Township Justice Court judge.
"Are you Warren Jeffs?" Judge James Bixler asked.
"Yes," Jeffs said, nodding his head.
Bixler explained the extradition process as Jeffs stood in a jury box, surrounded by SWAT team members and facing several news cameras.
The polygamist leader appeared thin. His hair was dark with streaks of silver on the sides.
The judge finally asked Jeffs, leader of the Fundamentalist LDS Church, what he wanted to do.
"I ... go ahead and be extradited," he said after a brief pause.
After the hearing, Jeffs met with an investigator who has dogged him for years.
"I wanted to put a human being with a picture and, of course, I needed to try to talk to him," Mohave County Attorney's investigator Gary Engels told the Deseret Morning News. "We chit-chatted a little bit."
Engels has been pursuing Jeffs since being directed by the Mohave County Attorney to investigate crimes within the polygamous border town of Colorado City, Ariz. Through his investigations, prosecutors in Arizona have brought a number of charges against polygamists. The trial of one starts next week.
Engels met with Jeffs in the Clark County Jail, where he was being held after a chance arrest by a Nevada trooper Monday night. Engels declined to go into details about his conversation with Jeffs. He said the FLDS leader knew who he was.
"He was decent. Guarded," Engels said.
Trying to break the ice, Engels told Jeffs he looked thin.
"He said 'That's the way I always look,"' the investigator said.
Engels said he advised Jeffs of his rights and tried to ask about criminal investigations under way, but Jeffs wouldn't talk without an attorney.
When Jeffs returns to Utah, he could face more criminal charges.
Washington County prosecutors confirmed to the Deseret Morning News they are screening more cases against Jeffs.
"It's a complicated case," deputy Washington County Attorney Jerry Jaeger said Thursday. "That's one thing that we have been looking at, is what else there is."
Just before Jeffs' extradition hearing, Jaeger and fellow prosecutor Ryan Shaum served Jeffs with papers indicating that a judge in St. George's 5th District Court had denied him bail.
Jeffs is charged in Utah and Arizona with sex crimes, accusing him of using his role as prophet of the FLDS Church to force teenage girls into polygamous marriages with older men. The victims say they were threatened with eternal damnation if they objected or left the unions.
The charges filed in St. George elevated Jeffs to the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list, where he remained for several months until he was arrested Monday outside Las Vegas during a simple traffic stop.
Jeffs was in the company of one of his wives, Naomi Jessop Jeffs, and Jeffs' brother, Isaac. Prosecutors said they remain under investigation for any role in harboring Jeffs.
Returning to Utah
Jeffs is expected to return to Utah within the next 28 days, where he will be booked into Purgatory Correctional Facility in Hurricane, less than 20 miles from Jeffs' former residence in Hildale.
Washington County Sheriff Kirk Smith said Jeffs would be held under administrative segregation, which means he will be housed alone.
"He will be allowed out for one hour a day to make phone calls, shower and exercise," Smith told reporters packed into the county attorney's office for a news conference on Thursday. "He will be able to read in his cell and have one to two hours of visitation each week. He will not be allowed to bring any personal effects with him into the jail, although he may request reading material."
Extraditing Jeffs from Nevada to Utah will be done in secrecy, and no details will be released to the public, Smith said. Details on the transfer must still be worked out between Smith and his counterparts in Clark County, Nev., where Jeffs is being held.
"We have not decided how to bring Jeffs here, yet," said Smith. "We are going to play this very carefully. I don't want to do anything that would jeopardize the transport, safety or housing of Mr. Jeffs. We want to make sure he gets every opportunity offered under the legal system."
So far, no attorneys representing Jeffs have contacted prosecutors.
Authorities told the Deseret Morning News they expect that Jeffs will still be in charge of the FLDS Church and its estimated 10,000 followers — even from jail. Jeffs is considered a prophet by his faithful followers.
"I think his contact with his people is going to be limited with him in jail. It definitely will be monitored," Engels said.
Hildale and Colorado City showed some signs of activity on Thursday. People were seen coming in and out of the local mercantile; children were seen playing in their yards.
It was a much different scene earlier in the week when word reached these communities that Jeffs had been arrested.
"They're coming to grips with him being caught. They still see him as Joseph Smith all over again," ex-FLDS member Daniel Chatwin said, referring to the martyred founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The FLDS Church is a breakaway religion.
Bruce Wisan, the court-appointed special fiduciary of the FLDS Church's United Effort Plan (UEP) Trust, visited the twin towns on Thursday.
"I haven't noticed a change," he said. "I talked to one person inside. He said he's not discussing it unless someone brings it up."
Wisan said FLDS members said they don't want to show disloyalty and are waiting to see what happens.
In 2005, a Utah judge took control of the UEP Trust, which controls homes, businesses and property in Hildale, Colorado City and several FLDS enclaves. The state of Utah alleged that Jeffs and top FLDS leaders were fleecing the trust. The UEP Trust has an estimated $110 million in assets.
Extra police patrols were seen in the border towns, and authorities hope that with the arrest of Jeffs, more people will come forward to report abuses within the closed societies.
"I want to see Jeffs get his day in court," Engels said.
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Originally published Friday, September 1, 2006
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