FLDS bishop Fredrick Jessop, who is charged with marrying Warren Jeffs to a 12-year old girl, is standing trial in the middle of West Texas oil country while his leader is ensconced in a Texas penitentiary in the early stages of serving a life sentence.
Angela Goodwin, of the Texas Attorney General’s Office is the lead prosecutor in this case, acting under the direction of Texas Attorney General and Wichita Falls native Greg Abbott.
Jeffs quit eating shortly after entering the Texas prison system and was transferred to the University of Texas Medical Center in Galveston while law enforcement officials tried to save his life.
In the meantime, one of his wives escaped from one of the Jeffs-controlled polygamist compounds, and sought refuge in the home of a former follower of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints, a polygamist sect which broke off from the Mormon Church.
There is never a dull moment when it comes to self-proclaimed polygamist prophet Warren Jeffs and his 78 wives.
Most men with 78 wives would be concerned about supporting such a large family.
But Jeffs seems able to continue his tight grip on the FLDS communities sprawled across the United States from the confines of his prison cell in Texas where he is reportedly back in good health after surviving his fast.
Former Bishop Fredrick Jessop is accused of marrying Warren Jeffs to an underage girl in 2006.
He faces anywhere from two to ten years in the Texas prison system if convicted of this third degree felony offense.
Goodwin said during her opening statement that the State would prove the bishop married “a freckle-faced 12-year old girl to a 50-year old man.”
Texas Rangers testified this week that they collected approximately a billion pages of evidence during a 2008 raid which resulted in the prosecution of seven FLDS members including the former bishop.
Carolyn Jessop escaped in 2003 and wrote a bestselling book entitled “Escape.”
Wichita Falls Law Enforcement was heavily involved in the raid which removed more than 400 children from the remote Yearning For Zion stronghold in West Texas while the nation’s news media looked on.
The Wichita Falls Office of Child Protective Services helped rescue many of the children.
Versel Rush represents the interests of children for the Wichita Falls CPS Office.
Members of Wichita Falls Law Enforcement also helped collect evidence in the raid.
The jury trial is expected to continue Monday, November 7, 2011.
Judge Barbara Walther moved the trial to Robert Lee, Texas in Coke County on a change of venue motion because of the intense publicity in Schleicher County, Texas.
Judge Walther also presided over the high profile trial of Warren Jeffs.
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