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Ex-husband of teenage bride could face trial

Ex-husband of teenage bride could face trial

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The ex-husband of the former teenage bride who helped convict polygamous church leader Warren Jeffs on two counts of rape by accomplice could be headed for a criminal trial.

Allen Glade Steed, now 26, is charged with one count of first-degree felony rape for his sexual relationship with Elissa Wall after the couple married in 2001 religious ceremony. She was 14 and he was 19, and both were members of Jeffs' Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Steed's attorney, Jim Bradshaw, said Wednesday that plea negotiations with the Washington County attorney's office in St. George ended recently without an agreement.

A 5th District Court hearing where a judge will determine if prosecutors have enough evidence for a trial is scheduled for Oct. 22. If convicted, Steed could spend the rest of his life in prison.

A telephone message left for prosecutors was not immediately returned Wednesday.

The Associated Press does not generally identify people who say they were sexually assaulted, but Wall has spoken publicly and published a nationally distributed book, "Stolen Innocence," which chronicles her life, including her marriage to Steed, who is her cousin.

Steed and Wall were married by Jeffs at a motel owned by an FLDS member in Caliente, Nev.

Prosecutors filed the rape charge against Steed in September 2007, one day after a St. George jury convicted Jeffs of two felony counts of rape as an accomplice for his role in the wedding and subsequent ecclesiastical counseling sessions.

Steed testified on Jeffs' behalf during the trial and said his sexual relationship with Wall was never forced.

Jeffs was sentenced to two consecutive prison terms of five years to life. His defense lawyers' have appealed the case. Jeffs is currently in an Arizona jail awaiting two trials on similar charges related to two marriages involving underage brides.

Jeffs has also been indicted by Texas authorities on sexual assault charges for an alleged relationship with an underage bride in 2006. The FLDS practice arranged marriages and believe polygamy brings members exaltation in heaven. The teachings are rooted in the 19th century beliefs of the mainstream Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints -- commonly known as the Mormon church -- which renounced polygamy in 1890 as a condition of statehood.

Most FLDS members make their homes in the twin border towns of Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City., Ariz., but the church also has enclaves in Colorado, South Dakota, Texas and British Columbia.

Wall was granted an FLDS divorce, known as a release, from Steed in 2004 after she became pregnant with another man's child. She is no longer a member of the church.

Steed remains in the FLDS church.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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Jennifer Dobner Writer


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