Jessop sentenced to 10 years in state pen
Probation denied, $8,000 fine assessed
Raymond Merril Jessop, 38, of the YFZ Ranch, was sentenced Tuesday evening to 10 years in state prison and ordered to pay an $8,000 fine. He was convicted by a Schleicher County jury last Thursday on one count of Sexual Assault of a Child. The jurors who found him guilty were the same ones who set his punishment.
Jessop's sentence falls in the middle of the two to twenty-year range allowed under Texas law. The jury apparently rejected the pleas of Jessop's lawyers that he be given probation.
Neither will Jessop be eligible for bail while his conviction is appealed.
FLDS spokesman Willie Jessop indicated minutes after the sentence was announced that an appeal is coming.
Legal teams gear up for Round Two in YFZ trials
Days after the felony conviction and sentencing of Raymond Merril Jessop on a charge of Sexual Assault of a Child, state prosecutors are prepared to bring Allan Eugene Keate, the second of 12 YFZ Ranch defendants, to trial on a similar charge. And, despite earlier reports that the trial would be moved to San Angelo, it now appears that the case could be tried in Schleicher County
The prosecution and the defense seemed to have an agreement last week that Keate's trial would be moved, but word came down Monday that defense attorney Randy Wilson had changed his mind. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Friday in San Angelo where Judge Barbara Walther is expected to decide the matter.
Judge orders Keate trial to be held in Eldorado
51st District Judge Barbara Walther ruled last Friday that the trial of Eugene Allan Keate will be held in Eldorado with jury selection slated to begin on Monday, December 7, 2009.
Keate was indicted earlier this year by a Schleicher County jury on a charge of Sexual Assault of a Child, a first degree felony. If convicted of the charge, he could face life in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Also, if Keate is found guilty, the jury will be asked to set his punishment. And, should a sentence of 11 years or more be ordered, probation will not be a possibility.
It was noted that 300 potential jurors have already been summoned, however, five of them served on the grand jury that indicted Keate, and they were excused. Five others were in the jury pool for the recently completed Raymond Jessop trial but none of them were chosen to serve on that jury, so they were left in the pool for the Keate trial.
Hearing slated Friday on defense motion to quash YFZ indictments
Judge Barbara Walther will hold a hearing on Friday concerning a motion to quash the indictments of 10 men from the YFZ Ranch. The defense motion alleges that the grand jury that indicted the men earlier this year was improperly empaneled because the jury did not include enough Hispanic members.
In its filing, the defense alleges that Schleicher County employs a "Key Man" system for selecting grand jurors that discriminates against racial and ethnic minorities.
For its part, the prosecution argues that the "Key Man" system referred to by the defense is actually known as a "Jury Commissioner" system that has been ruled constitutional by the United States Supreme Court. The prosecution further argues that the grand jury selection process in Schleicher County is performed under the supervision of the court, and raises the question whether the defense motion to quash the grand jury indictments have less to do with the merit of the argument and more to do with delaying the legal process.
Back from the Dead
Late FLDS prophet's estate seeks to regain control of church's trust fund
More than seven years after his death, Rulon Jeffs is again part of the debate surrounding the control and operation of the United Effort Plan trust, the one-time financial arm of the FLDS church.
Rulon Jeffs, who was prophet of the FLDS church, failed to name a successor during the long period of ill health that preceded his death on September 8, 2009. Prior to that time the church had been organized as the Corporation of the President of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Attorney General Abbott in attendance as jury selection begins in Keate trial
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott was in attendance Tuesday as jury selection began in the trial of Allan Eugene Keate, 57, who is accused of Sexual Assault of a Child, a first degree felony.
Keate is the second of 12 defendants to come to trial since the 2008 raid on the YFZ Ranch. His alleged victim is said to be one of his polygamous wives. Their wedding took place when she was only 15. The union produced a child whose DNA is being entered into evidence by the prosecution to prove sexual contact between the couple.
The journey leading up to Keate's trial has not been without its twists and turns. After last year's indictments, defense attorneys initially argued that the various YFZ defendants should be tried together, something which Judge Walther rejected. The judge also refused to suppress evidence seized during the YFZ raid when defense attorneys argued that Texas law enforcement agencies had used a hoax phone call to stage the raid.