« Mother of 3 Girls Killed in Taconic Crash Sues Brother-in-Law | Main | Casey Anthony Latex Mask for Sale Online »

Warren Jeffs' Former Follower Says Evidence Will 'Shock The World'

ABC News(SAN ANGELO, Texas) -- A Texas judge will hear opening motions Wednesday in the trial of polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs, and a woman who has faced Jeffs in the courtroom in the past says the trial will open the world's eyes to the insular, polygamist world of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS), Jeffs' offshoot of mainstream Mormonism.

"It will shock the world, the evidence that comes out," Elissa Wall said Wednesday on ABC's Good Morning America.

Wall was one of the first of Jeffs' followers to pursue criminal charges against him.  She was 14 years old when she says Jeffs, 55, forced her to marry her first cousin, Allen Steed.

"Warrens Jeffs was the principal of my school.  I was able to get out, but it was a struggle," Wall said Wednesday on GMA of her experience with the accused leader -- a story chronicled in her book, Stolen Innocence.

After leaving the FLDS, she pursued criminal charges against Steed for sexual assault and against Jeffs for being an accomplice to rape.  Jeffs was convicted on those charges in 2007 but the conviction was overturned by an appellate court on a technicality.

In the current trial, Jeffs faces charges he sexually assaulted two underage girls, ages 17 and 12, whom he later married.  The charges carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.  He faces a separate trial on a bigamy charge in October.

"This is an opportunity for people to see firsthand the actual crimes that Warren Jeffs committed," Wall said on GMA.

The selection of the 10 men and two women who will decide Jeffs' fate came late Tuesday night after a difficult jury selection process that showed the extent to which Jeffs has gained worldwide notoriety for reportedly having 70 wives and leading the sect's 10,000 members, who live along the border of Utah and Arizona.

A total of 207 people appeared for the second day of jury selection in the San Angelo, Texas courtroom where the trial is being held, but State District Judge Barbara Walther excused 120 of those potential jurors after most said they could not presume Jeffs' innocence.

While the jury is set, opening statements in the trial will not move forward without at least one more hearing, on a motion by the defense to suppress evidence.  Jeffs' attorneys say they also plan to request a change of venue out of San Angelo, but have yet to file a motion to do so.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>

ABC News Radio