ST. GEORGE A man who testified on behalf of polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs appeared in a St. George courtroom on Thursday to face a charge of first-degree felony rape.
Allen Steed, 26, was charged with rape a day after he testified at the Jeffs trial. An arrest warrant with a $50,000 cash-only bail also was issued at that time for Steed. If convicted, Steed could be sentenced from five years to life in prison.
Steed's attorneys filed a motion to temporarily rescind the arrest warrant and reduce the amount of bail or allow Steed to be released on his own recognizance.
Washington County prosecutors agreed to a reduction in the bail to $5,000 cash, and a judge signed the order on Wednesday. Steed arrived at the Purgatory Correctional Facility at 5 p.m. on Wednesday and was booked and released around 3 a.m. today, his attorneys said.
Steed arrived in 5th District Court later Thursday morning with his parents and attorneys, Jim Bradshaw and Mark Moffat, for an initial hearing before Judge G. Rand Beacham.
A formal reading of the charge was waived by Steed's attorneys, along with the right to have a preliminary hearing within 30 days.
"There is a substantial amount of discovery and records that we need to review," said Bradshaw. A status hearing was scheduled in the case for Nov. 2.
Jeffs was convicted of two counts of rape as an accomplice for his role in conducting a marriage between Steed, then 19, and his 14-year-old cousin, Elissa Wall, and counseling the couple to multiply and replenish the Earth. Jeffs is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 20; he faces five years to life on each count.
Wall testified she never wanted the union and that she hated Steed, who testified he tried hard to be a good husband and never forced his teenage bride to have sex.
Wall characterized Steed as a "nice guy" in her testimony. Following the county's charge against Steed, Wall said in a prepared statement that Steed was both a "victim of Warren Jeffs and a perpetrator of child abuse."Both Wall and Steed testified they grew up in the Fundamentalist LDS Church, which Jeffs now leads as its prophet. The FLDS do not date or court before marriage and learn of sexual reproductive matters after marriage, according to testimony offered at Jeffs' trial by several FLDS couples.
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