A Schleicher County jury in the West Texas town of Eldorado deliberated less than two hours Tuesday before convicting Allan Keate. He faces up to life in prison for his alleged so-called “spiritual marriage” to a 15-year-old girl who gave birth at age 16.
Fifty-first District Judge Barbara Walther adjourned court just after 4 p.m. and instructed jurors to return today for the penalty phase of the trial.
Keate has elected to be sentenced by the jury rather than the judge. He faces a maximum of life in prison.
The charges of sexual assault of a child were brought against the sect member in connection with an illegal marriage he was alleged to have consummated with an underage girl on the Yearning for Zion Ranch in Schleicher County in 2006.
In his summation lead prosecuting attorney Eric Nichols recalled the DNA evidence that he said “conclusively proves beyond any conceivable reasonable doubt” that Keate fathered a child with the girl while she was younger than the age of consent.
Keate is one of 10 FLDS men indicted by a Schleicher County grand jury in November 2008 on charges of sexual assault of a child in connection with allegedly illegal marriages to underage girls. He is the second to stand trial.
Jessop’s conviction was for a second-degree felony; Keate faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment because the crime of which he is accused allegedly occurred after the Texas Legislature added an enhancement to the penal code.