Willie Jessop wants to be a good neighbor
Willie Jessop appeared Monday at the Schleicher County Commissioners Court to say that the residents at the YFZ Ranch just want to be good neighbors and asked the commissioners to help him make that happen.
First of all, Jessop says he wants representation on local governing bodies. He points to the fact that the YFZ Ranch pays lots of taxes and refers to the Revolutionary War mantra of taxation without representation.
Jessop also wants representation on juries and questions the method by which jury pools are selected in Schleicher County. At one point he suggested jurors are picked from the phone book.
Jurors will decide YFZ child bride custody case
Barbara Jessop, the mother of 14-year-old Merrianne Jessop, was granted the jury trial she requested to determine if the State of Texas may permanently remove the girl from her parents. The YFZ Ranch mother appeared in 51st District Court on January 8th, where she was allowed to briefly meet with her daughter. At that time, Judge Barbara Walther scheduled a trial for September 28, 2009 in her San Angelo courtroom, using a Schleicher County jury. Attorneys for both sides waived holding the trial in Eldorado since the courtroom on the second floor of the Schleicher County Courthouse is not air conditioned.
Attorneys representing the Texas Department of Family Protective Services filed court documents last month claiming that Barbara Jessop had failed to protect her daughter from potential abuse and the girl was ordered into state custody for a second time. She had previously been among 439 children removed from the YFZ Ranch in April of last year during the now famous raid on the property. Merrianne was initially returned to her mother when the 3rd Court of Appeals ruled the state overreached when it removed all the underage children from the ranch.
Deal on YFZ evidence may be falling apart
Judge Barbara Walther is scheduled to hear arguments May 13th concerning the legality of the YFZ Ranch raid and whether evidence seized during the six-day operation may be used against a dozen YFZ Ranch defendants in their upcoming trials.
But, just a week after attorneys representing the YFZ defendants and the Texas Attorney General’s Office agreed on the evidentiary hearing, developments in Arizona may be casting a shadow over the deal.
On Monday, January 12th the two sides agreed that a challenge to the search would be delayed in the Arizona trial of FLDS prophet Warren Jeffs until after the May 13 hearing. As part of the deal, YFZ attorneys were to be given access to audio and video recordings made during the early hours of the raid.
YFZ Ranch leader, spokesman questioned by minor’s lawyer
Natalie Malonis, the ad litem attorney appointed to represent 17-year-old Teresa Jeffs, daughter of FLDS prophet Warren Jeffs, won the right last week to question YFZ Ranch overseer Merril Jessop and the ranch’s spokesman, Willie Jessop.
Malonis met with Merril Jessop and his attorney on Friday, January 23 in the Schleicher County Courthouse where the deposition got underway. When Jessop exercised his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, Malonis sought a ruling from Judge Barbara Walther, who heard the request by phone.
’Text messages urged child bride to ‘stay angry’ and ‘keep crying’
Child’s lawyer wants to be released from case
A series of text messages sent to 14-year-old Merrianne Jessop told her to “Please stay angry” and “We need you to keep crying, pout, sleep in,” according to a CASA Special Advocate Report filed last week by the Children’s Advocacy Center in San Angelo.
A copy of the report obtained by the Eldorado Success indicates that the girl received numerous text messages on a cellular phone given to her by her mother, Barbara Jessop.
“Crying will get you what you want,” one message said. Another advised, “CPS needs to see that your are miserable there.”
In all, there were 36 incoming text messages recorded on the phone and 88 outgoing messages received since January 15th. However, the phone, a prepaid LG Net 10, has limited storage capacity.
Many of the outgoing text messages were sent to a contact named “Mother.” But, the incoming messages came from a number identified as, “POP,” the CASA report states.
Documents offer glimpse into Jeffs’ life as most wanted fugitive
Prophet wanted to establish new Texas Trust at YFZ Ranch
Warren Jeffs learned that he had been named to the FBI’s Most Wanted List in 2005 after Schleicher County Sheriff David Doran notified YFZ Ranch manager Merril Jessop of the fact in a face-to-face visit.
That tidbit and hundreds of others came to light this week when a small portion of the evidence seized during the April 3, 2008 raid on the YFZ Ranch was made public. The evidence was included with other material filed with the court in the custody case of 17-year-old Teresa Jeffs. The material was released to the public when Judge Walther refused to seal the evidence following the dismissal of Ms. Jeffs’ case.
In an August 16, 2005 transcript of Warren Jeffs’ recitations, the FLDS prophet says that Merril Jessop told him of a meeting with Sheriff Doran.
During the meeting Doran reportedly observes that Warren Jeffs has ordered other men to surrender to authorities and asks why Jeffs won’t surrender himself. The Sheriff continues to say that Jeffs was recently named to the FBI’s Most Wanted List.