Final arguments in FLDS sentencing trial set for today

SAN ANGELO, Texas — The prosecution and defense rested Monday evening for the sentencing phase of the trial of Keith Dutson Jr., making way for final arguments at 9:30 a.m. today.

Dutson, a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, has been found guilty of sexual assault of a child. He elected to let a jury decide his punishment, which ranges from two years in prison with the recommendation of probation to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

The defense had difficulty getting law enforcement personnel to say whether Dutson had any criminal history that would prohibit him from being eligible for probation. In previous trials, the defense has asked one of the co-case agents for the state working on the case against the defendant. But in this trial, both of the co-case agents said they had not checked on his criminal history.

The prosecution and defense asked four law enforcement personnel and a private investigator to establish that Dutson is eligible for probation, but not before discussing whether Dutson had lived in communities with FLDS-controlled law enforcement.

The defense also put on a sex offender probation officer to discuss the conditions of probation, and the prosecution focused on the logistical difficulty of enforcing probation on a gated community like the YFZ Ranch, even showing pictures of the gate and surveillance in place, but the defense argued the probation officer can try to get Dutson to live elsewhere if deemed necessary.

Monday morning the prosecution used documents and letters to probe the mind of Dutson in the sentencing phase of his trial.

“I live for Zion and pure celestial law,” stated one letter that Dutson allegedly wrote to the FLDS leader Warren Jeffs.

The prosecution projected several passages that stated Dutson believed the outside world is ungodly.

Other records examined stated Dutson had been present with Jeffs and had acted as security for him when Jeffs was wanted by law enforcement.

– Source / Full Story: Final arguments in FLDS sentencing trial set for today, Matthew Waller, San Angelo Standard-Times, Nov. 8, 2010 — Summarized by Religion News Blog
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Religion News Blog posted this on Tuesday November 9, 2010.
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