Judge OKs testimony by ex-members of Warren Jeffs polygamous sect

ST. GEORGE – Two former followers of Warren S. Jeffs will be allowed to give limited testimony about marriage practices at the polygamous sect leader’s upcoming trial.

Fifth District Judge James L. Shumate said Monday that Richard Holm and Jethro Barlow also may testify about Jeffs’ position of authority within the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

But the judge said the men will be precluded from discussing how Jeffs’ leadership differed from that of his predecessors, because it is not relevant to the charges against him.

Jeffs faces two counts of being an accomplice to rape for a marriage he allegedly conducted in 2001 between a 19-year-old man and his 14-year-old cousin. The woman has testified that she objected numerous times to the union.

Attorneys on both sides of the case said they are ready to go. “Absolutely,” said Walter F. Bugden, one of Jeffs’ three defense attorneys.

The court will bring 300 prospective jurors to the Dixie Center on Sept. 7, where each will fill out a questionnaire about their familiarity with the case and opinions of Jeffs.

Bugden said there are 75 questions on the form.

Shumate said on Sept. 10 prospective jurors will be brought in groups of 50 to the 5th District courthouse, where they will be questioned individually in his chambers “until we have a jury seated or we run out of jurors and move to a different county.”

Shumate said he will allow attorneys to question the prospective jurors, the first time he has ever done so.


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Brooke Adams, The Salt Lake Tribune, Aug. 20, 2007, http://www.sltrib.com

Religion News Blog posted this on Monday August 20, 2007.
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