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1:15 PM Fri, Nov. 16th

Jeffs transported to Utah prison

KINGMAN - After more than 720 days in custody and an estimated expense of $120,000, polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs is no longer an inmate at the Mohave County Jail.

Jeffs, 54, was transported Tuesday morning to the Utah State Prison in Draper where he is currently serving out two five-years-to-life sentences following a 2007 conviction there on rape accomplice charges.

Charges against Jeffs were dropped locally last week when Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith chose to no longer go forward with the case. Smith said the decision was based on a number of factors, including the fact that Jeffs had already spent more time incarcerated here than he would have been sentenced to if successfully convicted.

Jeffs was facing four counts of sexual conduct with a minor for allegedly arranging the marriages of two underage girls to members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, which is based in Colorado City.

He had been housed in the Mohave County Jail since February 2008. Sheriff Tom Sheahan said it cost about $120,000 to keep Jeffs in jail, including costs associated with medical treatment and added security. Jeffs went on religious fasts several times which required medical intervention.

Smith said it cost about $10,000 in travel and other fees to prosecute Jeffs, although that figure does not include time spent by prosecutors working on the case.

Jeffs still faces outstanding charges in Texas, including a first-degree felony charge of sexual assault of a child.

Jeffs' attorney, Michael Piccarreta, said he is working to overturn his client's conviction in Utah based on what he cites as false evidence presented at that trial.