The prosecution avoided a disaster at a suppression hearing in the Warren Jeffs FLDS trial Wednesday when Judge Barbara Walther ruled evidence seized by law enforcement authorities from Wichita Falls, Texas and other agencies during a dramatic raid in April of 2008 will be heard and seen by the jury.
This may have been the most crucial battle of the whole trial since this evidence could be the backbone of the prosecution’s case which will be presented by Wichita Falls native Greg Abbott’s office.
Abbott, the Texas Attorney General, reviewed the evidence obtained from the raid of the Yearning for Zion polygamist compound before telling Time Magazine the FLDS polygamists would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
While the names of about 75 members of the polygamous sect appear on the witness list for the State of Texas, it is unclear how many, if any, will testify.
In the seven previous prosecutions of Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints, the State has relied on evidence seized in the raid without relying on witnesses from the sect which is an offshoot of the Mormon Church.
A Headline News report showed subpoenas attached to fenceposts which are part of the wall which surrounds the Yearning for Zion Compound, near Eldorado, Texas.
The 55-year old FLDS prophet and leader Jeffs was indicted by a Schleicher, Texas grand jury for sexual assault of a child under 17 years of age and aggravated sexual assult of a child 12 years old.
A second evidentiary hearing is set for Thursday after which the judge will decide whether or not evidence from Jeffs arrest in Nevada during 2006 will be admitted before the jury.
Before his arrest, Jeffs, was listed on the FBI’s ten most wanted list.
When asked by members of the national news media outside the San Angelo, Texas courthouse if either of the two victims would testify, native Wichitan Abbott declined to comment.
Headline News, which covered the Cayce Anthony jury trial from gavel to gavel, is also covering the polygamist trial of the century in the middle of West Texas oil country.
With millions of dollars from the FLDS polygamous sect behind him, Jeffs has hired at least seven different attorneys, designating a different lead counsel from hearing to hearing.
Previous FLDS trials have resulted in seven convictions and sentences ranging from 6 to 75 years.
DNA evidence was used by prosecutors in previous trials.
There has yet to be a Not Guilty verdict in any of these polygamist trials.
After Judge Walther rules on the evidentiary hearing Thursday, opening statements will commence.
America’s most famous alleged polygamist Warren Jeffs was arrested in an Escalade near Las Vegas.
Eric Nichols, special prosecutor for the State of Texas, will handle most of the courtroom duties for the prosecution as he has in the previous FLDS trials as a Deputy Attorney General.
Jeffs reportedly inherited more than 20 wives when his father Rulon Jeffs passed away.
His conviction for another polygamist-related offense in Utah was overtuned by that state’s Supreme Court.
Texas Governor Rick Perry signed the necessary papers to have Jeffs extradited from the Beehive State to face Lone Star State justice.
The FLDS has headquarters in Arizona and Utah. The establishment of the YFZ Compound was an attempt to spread into Texas.
Charges in Arizona were dismissed against Jeffs.
One of Jeffs’ attorneys said he might still file a motion for change of venue in the case.
More than 400 children were taken from the compound in 2008 by Child Protective Services including officials from the Wichita Falls office.
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