Yisrayl Hawkins, a 73-year-old Callahan County man, stands accused on four counts of bigamy, and is being held in Abilene in the Taylor County Jail on $10 million bond. He is believed to be the first person in Texas to face charges under the new Texas bigamy law, sponsored by State Representative Harvey Hilderbran in 2005.
Hawkins, a former Abilene police officer, is the leader of a church known as the House of Yahweh. He is said to have several hundred followers living on a secluded piece of property between Clyde and Eula. Among the principles taught by Hawkins is the practice of polygamy, or multiple marriages.