Raymond Jessop Trial: Punishment

This report, like the last, is based on information from people who were present in the courtroom as well as lawyers involved and others familiar with the legal process:

Today the Schleicher County jury heard evidence  related to Raymond’s character and aspects of the way he lived his life.  The State began with the testimony of from an FBI agent who testified about the time period Warren Jeffs was on the 10 Most Wanted List.   Then a Ranger testified about chain of custody information.

Then came the testimony of Carolyn Jessop.   The defense was obviously anticipating Carolyn’s testimony having a strong effect on the jury because nearly every question was met with an objection by Attorney Stevens, whether it was objectionable or not.   Carolyn is Raymond’s stepmother and had personal knowledge of Raymond’s life as a young man — although the age difference between Raymond and Carolyn is only about 5 years.   Carolyn identified a picture of all of Raymond’s nine wives and named each of the wives and their relationships with each other:   Here’s the breakout:

1.  Three wives are full sisters:  Maryanne, Lenora, and Teresa Jeffs.   Their parents are Warren Jeffs and Annette Barlow Jeffs.   Teresa and Lenora were both married to Raymond underage.

2.  Mary Musser Johnson and Marie Musser Johnson are full sisters.    Mary is Raymond’s legal wife, and they are still legally married.

3.   Three of the wives were previously married to Raymond’s brother, Ernie:  Rhoda, Janet and Elizabeth.   Rhoda and Elizabeth are sisters and are also sisters of Warren Jeffs.

Carolyn testified that Mary was happy to be married to Raymond until he was given a second wife and moved out of the master bedroom.   Then she was miserable.

Carolyn’s testimony never gained much momentum because of all the objections.   It’s hard to say what effect this testimony had on the jury — Stevens successfully disrupted the testimony, but in the process irked the jury.  The only cross- examination question elicited the information that Carolyn was from 6 generations of polygamists on her mother’s side.    The defense likely determined that Carolyn’s testimony was not terribly damaging to Raymond, and there was no need for many follow up questions.

Dr Larry Beall was the next witness for the State.   He is a psychologist who specializes in trauma caused by “cult abuse.”    Brandon Hudson asked for an instruction that Dr Beall not use the word “cult” but the request was denied.    Dr Beall’s testimony was informative and damaging to Raymond.    He talked about the effect of sexual assault on adolescent females in polygamous cults.   He testified about the coercive nature of such communities and the lack of brain development in young girls and the inability to form mature and rational judgments in the adolescent years.    This testimony was apparently elicited for the purpose of dispelling the fiction that Janet “consented” to underage marriage or sexual relations at age 15

Becky Musser testified next, and she was an outstanding witness.   She was very poised and measured and knowledgeable.   She authenticated marriage records, family group records and priesthood records showing the marriages of Raymond to his nine wives, Raymond’s whereabouts in the relevant time period, among other things.   Becky explained aspects of FLDS life to the jury, and she was very clear in her presentation that girls have no choice and no control and no opportunity to think for themselves in the FLDS community.   The defense did not cross-examine her, probably because anything they could have asked would have  opened the door for further damaging testimony against Raymond.   Becky also identified Raymond’s nine wives by name, as shown in a picture of all nine of them lined up side by side.

The final witness for the State was Ranger Nick Hanna, who is obviously accustomed to testifying and presents himself very well.   Nick authenticated and read from various priesthood dictations and records that were not admissible in the guilt/innocence phase of the trial.   The most damaging testimony was portions of dictations that: 1.  described Janet “struggling” in labor for three days and all of the adults around her, including Raymond, refusing to take her to the hospital because it would get Raymond in trouble, and 2. recounted instances where Raymond served as Warren’s decoy in a caravan when Warren was on the 10 Most Wanted List.    Many objections from the defense, all overruled.

The defense called four or five witnesses who were all people from around Eldorado and San Angelo — they were all people for whom Raymond had done construction work, and none of them had known him before June of 2009.    None of them had any idea what his life was like at the Ranch or how many wives he had or anything else.   They did all testify that he was nice and he was an honest worker.   Truth be told, this was about as well as the defense could do and this testimony might have an effect on the jury.   Seeing other “normal” people in the community saying nice things about Raymond will make it easier for the jury to soften a little.

The jury was excused at about 8:00 PM and the attorneys met in chambers for their “charging conference.”   They were finished by about 9:30.

Tomorrow, closing summations will begin at 9:30 AM.   Each side gets 30 minutes.   Each side will have two attorneys use 15 minutes each.     Then the jury is given its charge and deliberations begin.   The range of sentences for sexual assault of a child is 2-20 years.   If the jury sentences Raymond to 10 years or less, they must also consider whether Raymond is a good candidate for probation.   If Raymond is sentenced to 20 years, he will have to serve at least 10 years day for day with no credit for “good time.”   After 10 years he would become parole eligible, but it is not mandatory — he would have to continue meeting with the parole board  until he is granted parole or until his sentence is complete.

Stay tuned…..


~ by FLDS TEXAS on November 10, 2009.

33 Responses to “Raymond Jessop Trial: Punishment”

  1. Excellent report.

  2. Agreed — excellent report and analysis.

    I can’t help but think the defense witnesses will not have much effect on the jury. Perhaps he is a good worker and presents himself as a nice guy — but with these witnesses limited knowledge of his personal life, nothing they had to say could have pertained to the crime for which he was convicted.

  3. Thank you very much, FLDS TEXAS. You’re scary good.

    TexasConnie, I agree with you completely. I like my contractor, but I have no idea what he’s doing after hours.

  4. Would it be accurate to say that Mary Musser (Johnson) Jessop and Marie Musser (Johnson) Harker (Williams) Jessop are granddaughters of Rulon Jeffs through their mother?

  5. […] This report, like the last, is based on information from people who were present in the courtroom as well as lawyers involved and others familiar with the legal process: […]

  6. Excellent!!!!

  7. Rosemary and Janet are also full sisters, daughters of Warren’s brother LeRoy and his wife Sally. This makes them cousins to Warren’s 3 daughters. Elizabeth and Rhoda are aunts to the 5 Jeffs girls as they are the daughters of Rulon. I’m not sure if Marie and Mary are related in there or not, I’ll have to do some checking.

    But just to make matters interesting, The 5 younger Jeffs girls (daughters of Warren and LeRoy) are related to Raymond on the Steed side of the family through Warren and LeRoy’s mother and Raymond’s mother.

  8. The defense did not attempt to rebut Dr. Beall’s testimony with a different expert witness; he’s within the mainstream of thought on this subject, so it would have been hard to find a psychiatrist or psychologist to say otherwise.

    Anyone who’s raised girls knows that life from age 12 to 16 is an emotional whirlwind. It must be some kind of sick cosmic retribution on the men to freeze these young women at that point of psychic development.

  9. The family topiary.

  10. The defense did not attempt to rebut Dr. Beall’s testimony with a different expert witness

    I know the theory is that you can buy yourself an expert who will whore themselves, but I’d suspect it was next to impossible for Stevens to find someone who would strongly contradict Beall.

  11. The Family Kudzu?

  12. Ron, that nice Dr. Smith was right outside the courtroom dying to be taken seriously.

  13. Interesting that the defense was afraid to call any current flds people as witnesses and they tried to squelch the testimony of Carolyn by frequent objections. They also agreed to have all flds prospective jurors be disqualified rather than answer questions under oath. Makes one think that there are still deep dark secrets that the flds leaders want to stay hidden.

  14. that nice Dr. Smith was right outside

    Yep, I guess that does prove you can find an educated person who will say just about any wacky crap.

  15. Makes one think that there are still deep dark secrets that the flds leaders want to stay hidden.

    Hmmm, ya think?

  16. Everytime I am in a crisis in my life, dealing with a loss of a loved one, serious illness that may involve surgery or a life changing event I don’t call my minister or seek solace in my church. I just get out the yellow pages and talk to a few local construction contractors and and journeymen carpenters and I always feel reassured and right with my situation. Mark Stevens seems to think that building stout houses will answer for rape? Should we begin discussing Raymond’s other ‘Child Bride’ plural wives or would that be unfair and prejudicial? The reality here is at the age of 38 years old, Raymond Merril Jessop has 9 celestial wives and 22 children to be responsible for and now faces a 2 to 20 year felony conviction, besides charges for bigamy still pending.

  17. “Yep, I guess that does prove you can find an educated person who will say just about any wacky crap.”

    Yeah, like teen girls were “made” to give birth so young. Doesn’t the moron realize that the age of puberty has gone DOWN over the past few centuries?!? Anyone who visits this man as a doctor is taking a huge risk. He may be a good diagnostition but his biases are going to screw up someone pretty badly one day. HOW do men like him managed to be married? (Or Hugh, or Bile — do these women have NO self-respect?)

  18. and since he has to register as a sex offender, he can’t live at the ranch where there are lots of little children. A case could probably be made to make Marie, Elizabeth and Rhoda stay away from him since their children aren’t biologically his and they aren’t legally married to him.

  19. Proudtexan the fact that Marie, Elizabeth and Rhoda children are not biologically Raymond’s means that Raymond once these women’s daughters mature to menses will be ready made wives for Raymond. Rhoda and Elizabeth are both Rulon Jeffs daughters and Warren Jeffs sisters, that’s prophetic bloodline.

    What happens now to the 22 children and their protection and lifestyle development within the YFZ Gulag at the Felony Farm.

  20. My guess – another very short deliberation followed by a sentence greater than 15 years and most likely 20. I’d normally say 20 for sure, but the “Angie’s List” defense could buy him maybe a few years off the max.

  21. ron, what’s the Angie’s list defense?

  22. I think Raymond has already received his lucky star when he married Janet before the statutory change from 2nd. Degree to 1st. Degree was enacted. Subsequently Raymond married Teresa Jeffs now Jessop, so he may answer for the 1st. Degree sometime in his future.

  23. Ron: I am quite sure there are a lot of things they don’t want brought out.
    Not to answer for Ron, however in my city Angie’s list is an online rating/comment service for local businesses like plumbers, contractors, etc.

  24. Chemist has it right. You mean you haven’t seen the commercials for Angie’s list? It seems like I can’t avoid them when I’m watching TV.

  25. lol, some of us actually don’t watch tv.

  26. How would community supervision work with a guy like Raymond?

    Someone would go out to the ranch to see him, and they’d say there wasn’t anyone there by that name? Back to square one.

  27. ok, thanks. i had no clue but knew that it in some way related to the fact that he had people he had built houses for as his character witnesses.

  28. Ads are also very dependent upon what you DO watch. Apparently, if you watch morning news, they think you are older than middle aged. There sure are a lot of erectile dysfunction, retirement investing, and high end car ads on the morning news shows.

  29. I remember the Angie’s list add about the guy with the red shoe print, and the guy who ran up their pay for view bill with porn.

  30. Should be deliberating now.

  31. How would community supervision work with a guy like Raymond?

    Miele – that’s an interesting hypothetical since one condition of community supervision is that you not engage in illegal activity and since bigamy is illegal, I’m not sure how they’d handle Raymond.

    I suppose that issue will come up again on parole; however, that will be many, many years in the future.

  32. “Would it be accurate to say that Mary Musser (Johnson) Jessop and Marie Musser (Johnson) Harker (Williams) Jessop are granddaughters of Rulon Jeffs through their mother?”

    The answer to my question is no, and thanks to the person who provided me with some helpful information.

  33. Yep, I think he gets 20 + fine.

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