House of Yahweh religious sect leader Yisrayl Hawkins in jail on $10 million bail; suspected of bigamy

Yisrayl Hawkins, the reputed leader of the House of Yahweh religious sect near Clyde, was booked into the Taylor County Jail on Tuesday night on four counts of bigamy, a jail officer said.

Hawkins is being held on $10 million bail — $2.5 million on each count, jail records show.

He was arrested in Callahan County on Tuesday afternoon and later transferred to the Taylor County Jail, a Callahan County deputy said.

Bigamy is a criminal act involving having more than one spouse at the same time.

No other information about his arrest or the current charges was available Tuesday night.

The House of Yahweh is an Old Testament-based religious group with a compound of about 50 acres between Clyde and Eula in Callahan County, according to Reporter-News files.

Bill Hawkins founded the sect in 1980.

Hawkins later changed his name to “Yisrayl” Hawkins. Many members of the House of Yahweh have changed their last name to Hawkins and adopted an unusual spelling of their first name, usually incorporating at least one letter “y.”

Yisrayl Hawkins’ group has attracted media attention on several occasions. In July 2006, Abilene police investigated the death of a 1-month-old boy whose death and burial had not been reported to authorities. An autopsy later indicated that the child died of malnourishment and traumatic asphyxiation. No charges have been filed in the child’s death.

Also, a sect member pleaded guilty to injury to a child by criminal negligence in October 2006 for performing surgery on her 7-year-old daughter, which authorities said led to her death.

In October last year, another reported member of the group, Yedidiyah Hawkins, 40, was arrested on a Callahan County warrant on suspicion of the sexual assault of his 14-year-old step-daughter.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Wednesday February 13, 2008.
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