Greg Abbott, Wichita Falls native, was on hand again Tuesday as the final 12 jurors were selected but not sworn in for the trial of the century for FLDS polygamist leader Warren Jeffs.
The national news media representatives were all present as 10 men and two women were selected by approximately 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Swarmed over by news media representatives as he left the courthouse, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott declined to comment on whether or not the two alleged victims of America’s most famous alleged polygamist would testify.
A suppression hearing will begin about 1 p.m. Wednesday to determine if evidence seized by Wichita Falls and other law enforcement authorities across the state would be allowed into evidence in front of the 12 jurors.
Judge Barbara Walther will make that crucial decision about evidence which was seized during a raid of the Yearning for Zion FLDS Compound in April of 2008.
Members of the Wichita Falls Child Protective Services office participated in taking custody of more than 400 children during the dramatic raid.
While he was tight-lipped when asked whether Jeffs fathered children with either of his two victims, Abbott did vow that the prosecution would be ready for anything they encountered during the pre-trial hearings and subsequent jury trial.
Lead defense attorney Deric Walpole said he may still file a motion for change of venue out of San Angelo, Texas to an area where less is known about details of the case and raid on the FLDS compound.
Jeffs has hired at least seven different attorneys and attempted to fire several of them, but Judge Walther ordered some of them to remain in the courtroom with Walpole during today’s jury selection.
Approximately 120 potential jurors were eliminated Tuesday mainly for their answers to two questions.
When asked if they could consider probation for aggravated sexual assault or sexual assault many raised their pieces of paper indicating they could not.
If a defendant in Texas receives 10 years or less for a sentence, he is eligible for probation
In this unique jury selection each panelist was given a piece of paper with his assigned number on it, according to Christi Paul, reporter for Headline News.
About 100 of the prosepective jurors raised their numbers indicating they could not presume Jeffs innocent.
Lead prosecutor Eric NIchols was able to overcome the hotly-contest voir dire session and select 12 jurors who could be fair to both sides. Attorney General Greg Abbott, who sat beside Nichols during jury selection, requested his former employee be appointed Special Prosecutor for this monumental trial.
The defense is expected to argue all the evidence seized during the 2008 raid should be suppressed since it allegedly was based on a hoax call for help.
Once the trial itself starts, there will be one woman and one man seated as alternate jurors in case one of the 12 jurors sworn in tomorrow will not be able to complete their service.
Headline News, which is covering this trial as it did the Cayce Anthony trial, reported today that the judge in the Anthony case today ordered the identify of the jurors to remain confidential until October.
Safety of the jurors is not expected to be an issue in this case.
There have been no concerns for safety of jurors in any of the seven previous FLDS polygamy trials.
Jeffs has been indicted by a Schleicher County, Texas grand jury for alleged aggravated sexual assault of a girl under age 17 and sexual assault of a girl under age 12.
He is alleged to have engaged in celestial marriages to both girls.
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