Sources familiar with both Warren Jeffs and his confinement in the Purgatory Correctional Facility tell ABC 4 that on at least two occasions he tried to harm himself. Both incidents took place back in January of this year. Neither came close to succeeding.
In one instance, Jeffs rammed his head against the wall of his jail cell. In the other instance, he apparently tried to use his jail-issued clothes to strangle himself.
Also in January, Jeffs was briefly taken to a hospital emergency room. But a Washington County Sheriff’s spokesman says that it had to do with his heart.
Suicide attempts should not be surprising given the diagnosis of depression from two mental evaluations of Jeffs. Always thin, Jeffs had lost 30 pounds in his first few months in PCF. He was not sleeping well. And after the suicide attempts, Jeffs was confessing to friends and family members that he was a “wicked man”.
Depressed or not, former FLDS member Carolyn Jessop says she was surprised. “We believe that suicide is a horrible sin. That’s one of the worst,” she said. “I always considered him narcissistic and a person like that protects himself.”
Carolyn Jessop knows Warren Jeffs well. Before escaping polygamy in April of 2003, she was married to one of Jeffs’ top Lieutenants, Merril Jessop. He is the bishop of the FLDS compound near El Dorado, Texas. That compound is now seen as the headquarters of the group and home to its first and only temple.
In the past, Jeffs preached that some sinners could only receive forgiveness by spilling their own blood, “blood atonement”.
But Carolyn Jessop does not believe blood atonement had anything to do with Warren’s would be suicides. “With blood atonement it has to be done properly or it is of no value. I don’t believe there was a religious connotation…I think it was more based on his own emotional desperation of being behind bars. Warren is an incredibly controlling individual. And for the first time in his life he has no control over his environment.”
Nor will he have control for quite a while. He faces 5 years to life for his conviction in Washington County on two counts of rape as an accomplice. His sentencing is later this month. Plus he still faces trial in federal and Arizona courts.