Seth Topek
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Criminal Defense Attorney: Defending the Rights of the Accused and the Incarcerated
Posted on May 04, 2013

In 2008 the Texas Rangers raided a Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints compound in West Texas called the Yearning for Zion.  Wendell Nielsen, was convicted in 2012 of three counts of bigamy based on evidence that he married three more women after his first marriage.  He was a part of the leadership in Warren Jeffs polygamist sect.  His case went to trial after he rejected an offer of probation.  At trial his attorneys claimed that the women were not his legal wives and therefore did not violate the law.   The jury found him guilty and sentenced him to ten years.  Mr. Nielsen was granted parole on his first parole eligibility recently.  A Texas offender is eligible for parole when they have credit for twenty five percent of their sentence.  Mr. Nielsen was convicted in March of 2012.  Even though two and a half years has not elapsed through good behavior he was able to obtain good time credit, which enabled him to become eligible for parole prior to two and a half years.  Mr. Nielsen is 72 years old and served his sentence at the Terrell Unit.  No more information was given concerning the rationale behind the parole board’s decision, nor the conditions of his parole.


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