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A 1,700-acre West Texas ranch owned by a religious sect that practices polygamy is the target of seizure efforts by the Texas Attorney General’s office. It’s the latest chapter in a long legal battle between the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the State of Texas.

In this affidavit filed in the 51st State District Court, the Attorney General says the ranch was bought with the proceeds of illegal activity to establish a location where children could be systematically abused outside the eye of law enforcement.

Image courtesy ksl.com

New aerial shots of the Yearning for Zion ranch in Eldorado, Texas – home to the controversial sect of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) formerly lead by imprisoned pastor Warren Jeffs – are causing consternation among locals.

Maybe because the coliseum under construction looks more like something from Stanley Kubrick’s "2001" than anything else.

TM Daily Post highlights a recent report from KSL News in Salt Lake City. KSL reporter John Hollenhorst flew over the YFZ Ranch site with Judge Jimmy Doyle, shooting footage of the new construction.

Photo courtesy Reagan County Sheriff's Department

The spiritual leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a religious sect that practices polygamy, has been sentenced to life in prison.  The jury deliberated for less than 30 minutes, according to the AP.

Photo by KUT News

Sentencing Phase of Warren Jeffs Trial Winding Down

The Associated Press reports closing arguments are expected today in the sentencing phase of the trial against polygamist religious leader Warren Jeffs.  He was convicted of sexually assaulting two underage girls. The AP reports prosecutors rested their case Monday after showing photos of Jeffs kissing the young girls with whom he had so-called "spiritual marriages".

They also played what an FBI agent said was a 2004 audio recording of Jeffs preparing five young girls to have sex with him. The 55-year-old Jeffs has led the FLDS since 2002. He is considered God’s spokesman on Earth among more than 10,000 church followers.

Jeffs faces up to life in prison.

As a Texas jury considers a possible life sentence for polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, a coalition of polygamist groups is condemning the sexual abuse that led to Jeffs' conviction.

"We are alarmed that such depravity could have been perpetrated by anyone," says a written statement from the Principle Rights Coalition, a group representing five polygamist groups in Arizona and Utah, as well as "numerous other independent Fundamentalist Mormons."

Photo by Reagan County Sheriff's Department

Breaking news from San Angelo: The Associated Press reports that Warren Jeffs, the spiritual leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, has been found guilty of child sex abuse.

Here's the report from the AP

At the end of court yesterday, Warren Jeffs stood all by himself at the defense table, head bowed, motionless as everyone swirled around him.

The morning began with him firing his defense lawyers and announcing he would represent himself. It was a particularly cruel blow for Deric Walpole, Jeffs' lead defense lawyer, who'd been working 20-hour days to get ready for this moment only to have Jeffs pull the rug out from under him.

Image courtesy Reagan County Sheriff's Department

A pre-trial hearing is scheduled today in the West Texas town of San Angelo for Warren Jeffs, a spiritual leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS).

The FLDS practices polygamy, and its Yearning For Zion Ranch in West Texas was raided by Texas child welfare authorities in April 2008.  More than 400 children were seized by the state, but most were eventually returned to their families under a Texas Supreme Court ruling that found the state overstepped its authority by treating the entire community as a single family.

The Associated Press reports the polygamist sect leader stood silently during a hearing in a West Texas court Wednesday. The court entered the not guilty pleas on his behalf.

The 55-year-old Jeffs faces charges of bigamy and sexual assault of a child.  He’s scheduled to stand trial for the aggravated sexual assault charge January 24th. The AP reports says he plans to hire a Texas attorney but doesn’t have one yet.

Image courtesy Texas Attorney General's office

The Texas Attorney General sent us a news release this morning announcing that Warren Jeffs, former leader of theFundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS), arrived in the West Texas town of San Angelo at 9 o'clock last night.