Nephi, son of Helaman and brother of Lehi, served as chief judge in Zarahemla from around 39 bc until 30 bc (Hel. 3:37; 5:1). Thereafter, he and his brother went from city to city preaching repentance and reclaiming souls for Christ, both among the Lamanites and the Nephites. On one occasion after a lengthy missionary excursion to the land northward, Nephi returned to Zarahemla around 23 bc and became heartsick over the pride that was creeping in among the people. It was at that time that the people overheard Nephi as he poured out his heart in sorrow before the Lord from his garden tower. When he called the people to repentance, they turned against him in anger. Under the power of inspiration, Nephi told them that the chief judge had just been murdered.
Yea, behold it [your everlasting destruction] is now even at your doors; yea, go ye in unto the judgment-seat, and search; and behold, your judge is murdered, and he lieth in his blood; and he hath been murdered by his brother, who seeketh to sit in the judgment-seat.
And behold, they both belong to your secret band, whose author is Gadianton and the evil one who seeketh to destroy the souls of men.
In the wake of this claim, five men among the listeners went to the judgment-seat, where they found that the chief judge, whose name was Seezoram, lay dead in his gore. They were struck with fear, believing that the remainder of Nephi’s warnings about impending destruction were also credible. Meanwhile, the servants of the murdered judge appealed for help. The early responders rushed to the scene and found the five witnesses, whom they mistakenly arrested. The five were imprisoned until, on the next day, the judges who had been present during Nephi’s testimony exonerated them but implicated Nephi himself as the conspirator: “Behold, we know that this Nephi must have agreed with some one to slay the judge, and then he might declare it unto us, that he might convert us unto his faith, that he might raise himself to be a great man, chosen of God, and a prophet”. Thereupon Nephi called them to repentance with great power and gave them a further sign: that Seantum, the brother of Seezoram, could be found with blood on his garments, and that the blood would would serve to leverage his confession to the murder. The judges confirmed that all this was true. The five witnesses were then set free. Many believed the words of Nephi, and others were converted in prison through the testimony of the five witnesses being held there.