AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas wants ownership of Warren Jeffs' massive polygamist ranch where prosecutors say the convicted sect leader and his followers sexually assaulted dozens of children, the state attorney general's office said Wednesday.
A judge will determine whether to grant the state control of the 1,600-acre property owned by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The sect bought the land for more than $1.1 million in 2003, according to court records. The affidavit, filed Wednesday, does not provide a current value for the Yearning for Zion Ranch. Texas has spent more than $4.5 million in prosecuting the cases against Jeffs and 10 of his followers.
Jerry Strickland, a spokesman for the attorney general's office, said the warrant begins the final chapter in the state's 5-year-old case against Jeffs.
Texas Rangers raided the ranch in April 2008 and took 439 children into state custody. Jeffs last year was convicted of sexually assaulting two minors whom he described as his spiritual wives.
Jeffs, 56, is serving a life prison term in Texas. He has continued to try to lead his roughly 10,000 followers from behind bars. The sect is a radical offshoot of mainstream Mormonism whose members believe polygamy brings exaltation in heaven.