He stared silently at the jury for 24 minutes, then said, "I am at peace"

By Mike Fleeman
Updated August 04, 2011 07:00 PM
Credit: Tony Gutierrez/AP

After a bizarre summation in which Warren Jeffs stared silently at the jury for 24 minutes, then muttered, “I am at peace,” the polygamist sect leader was convicted Thursday of two counts of child sexual abuse.

Jurors in the San Angelo, Texas, trial deliberated for less than four hours before announcing their verdict. Jeffs, who showed no reaction, faces life imprisonment for the charges involving two girls ages 12 and 14.

Jeffs, 55, calls himself the prophet and leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, an offshoot banned by the Mormons, whose theological calls for men to have three wives to be admitted to heaven.

He was convicted of sexual abuse of a child and aggravated sexual abuse of a child after a trial that became a strange spectacle in which Jeffs represented himself and said nothing during most of his summation.

Prosecutors alleged Jeffs raped the girls and fathered a child with the other child. A key piece of evidence against him was an audio recording of Jeffs having sex with the 12-year-old.