(KUTV) KINGMAN, Arizona — Eight men are set to stand trial for plural marriages to underage girls. The trials mark the first major effort to prosecute the results of polygamy in decades.
Wednesday was jury selection. This is an interesting case because prosecutors can’t find the alleged victim, so they’re using a paper trail as evidence.
Kelly Fisher shielded his face as he made his way into court. He’s the first of the so-called Colorado City Eight to go on trial. They’re accused of having sexual relations with minors.
“We’re not going after anybody based on polygamy this has to do with underage marriages. These are victims that are under the age of 18 that aren’t legally married, and there is no doubt there are children born out of wedlock. Two girls that were underage,” said Arizona’s Mojave County prosecutor Matthew Smith.
The alleged victim in the case is nowhere to be found and prosecutors say they’re fighting an uphill battle with this case.
“You know it’s going to be a hard road because we don’t have our victims we couldn’t find them,” said Mojave County Investigator Gary Engles.
“It’s very frustrating because nobody will talk to you. Ok the victim doesn’t want to cooperate then you could usually talk to the family. Then you could go to the neighbors… no one will cooperate,” said Smith.
In May search warrants were served on four of the defendants homes. Investigators were trying to get DNA samples on the men and their families to try and link them to the crime but in Fisher’s case no DNA samples were obtained. Defense attorney Bruce Griffin said that is a big problem for the prosecution.
“Our position is the state can’t prove this case period,” he said.
Fisher, age 39, is a contractor. He faces sexual conduct and conspiracy to commit sexual conduct with a minor.
The week before the trial there was a raid on some property linked to fugitive leader Warren Jeffs in Cedar City. Still, Jeffs is on the run and on the FBI’s 10-most wanted list.