FLDS Trial of Raymond Jessop
[Guest post by DRJ]
The Raymond Jessop trial continues but it may be over soon. On Monday the prosecution presented evidence that Jessop had one legal wife and 8 “celestial” wives:
“Walther allowed jurors to see a Washington County, Utah, marriage certificate for the union of Jessop and Mary J. Musser from Aug. 29, 1994. Prosecutors contend that Musser is Jessop’s legal wife and that he took eight “celestial” wives, including an underage bride who gave birth to his daughter.
Defense attorneys have a keen interest in keeping talk of polygamy out of the trial, as well as evidence to prove the location of the sexual assault their client is accused of.
Under Texas law the age of consent to sex is 17 — unless the underage person is legally married.”
In addition, a prosecution DNA expert witness testified there was 99 percent probability Raymond Jessop is the father of the alleged victim’s child. During cross-examination, the expert was criticized for documented lab errors in 2008 and questioned about the effect of FLDS inbreeding on the DNA results.
In an abbreviated hearing on Tuesday (shortened so jurors could go vote), Texas Rangers recounted the entry and search of the YFZ Ranch that resulted in the confiscation of “boxes and boxes” of family documents, computer equipment, photos, and other evidence. One document recounted the alleged victim’s difficult labor and the decision not to seek medical care because of her age and Warren Jeffs’ legal status.
A computer forensic examiner also testified “about the training and software he used to extract ‘deleted’ information from computers seized in April 2008 at the YFZ Ranch.” The content of the evidence was not revealed.
Finally, Wednesday’s testimony included a UT Law professor who stated Jessop and the alleged victim did not have a legally recognized marriage under Texas law. Wednesday also included an appearance by an ex-member of the FLDS sect who had been married to Warren Jeffs’ father Rulon, the former sect leader. Her testimony was apparently designed to authenticate FLDS documents recovered at the YFZ Ranch and to provide insight into the sect’s inner workings.
The Judge asked the jurors to bring their overnight bags with them Thursday since the case may go to the jury soon. This suggests the defense does not plan to present witnesses or has a limited witness list.