Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The False Prophet: Warren Jeffs

Witnesses for the Prosecution

During the trial, the jury listened to testimony from the prosecution's witnesses, which included "Jane Doe's" sisters. The first to take the stand was her oldest sister, Rebecca Musser who told the court that even though their step-father, Fred Jessop, arranged the marriage, Warren actually saw it through. She testified that her sister was devastated by the arranged marriage but that she was powerless to stop it because she would have "been severely reprimanded," Nancy Perkins reported for the Desert Morning News. Instead, she tried to comfort her sister by offering her encouragement and decorating her room. When asked by defense attorney Wally Bugden if she thought she might be "encouraging" the rape of her sister, Musser replied that she did not.

Brooke Adams of The Salt Lake Tribune wrote that during the trial, defense attorney Tara Isaacson "focused on the discrepancies" between "Jane Doe's" earlier testimony in the trial where she claimed to have been raped by her husband and that during the preliminary hearing where she testified that her husband "never forced her to have sex." "Jane Doe" admitted to buttering up to her husband to get him to do things for her and that she even wrote him love notes, which the defense entered as evidence. However, she also mentioned that he did things she "didn't agree with."

"Jane Doe's" testimony, albeit ripe with inconsistencies, was indicative of a girl who at the age of 14-years-old had conflicting feelings about the man she was forced to marry. It appeared that she wasn't even familiar with the concept of rape until years after her marriage. According to "Jane Doe's" testimony, the word "sex" or discussing such matters was taboo in the FLDS.

Another of "Jane Doe's" sisters, Teresa Blackmore, also took the stand and talked about her sister's immense sadness prior to her wedding. Blackmore informed her sister that she didn't have to go through with the marriage, suggesting alternative options such as leaving her entire family behind. However, "given what they had been taught about obedience and obeying the prophet's decisions on marriage, they were "hollow suggestions," Adams reported.

Surprisingly, Blackmore was the last of only three witnesses to take the stand for the prosecution. The three siblings' testimony was supported by the occasional tape of Warren's sermons. However, it didn't appear to be nearly enough evidence to prove that there was a rape, the defense argued. As a result, the defense asked that the case against Warren be dismissed, although Judge Shumate rejected the request. Believing that they had little to lose, the defense promised to offer more compelling evidence that would negate the prosecution's argument and prove that "Jane Doe" not only initiated a sexual relationship with her husband but also had ulterior motives for launching a criminal case against him, which mostly centered on money, Adams suggested.

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