The tale of the tape in Texas vs. Jeffs

Posted: Updated:

SAN ANGELO, Texas - Prosecutors held back their most powerful punch until the very end of the trial of polygamous prophet Warren Jeffs.

Just before the state rested they played an audio tape for the jury, recorded while Jeffs was allegedly sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl inside his massive white temple.

Sitting silent and stunned, the jury of two men and 10 women listened as Jeffs refers to the girl twice by name. He called her a " heavenly comfort wife."

On the tape Jeffs then told the child, "You will now learn the greater spirit of Christ."

Jurors and the large court room audience sat transfixed as the tape was played, with jurors reading a transcript of the sometimes difficult-to-understand tape.

The tape indicated two of Jeffs other plural wives were present during the alleged sexual assault, with Jeffs saying, "Thank you for these gifts."

At the end of the tape Jeffs then said, "We offer this prayer in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen."

The girl is then heard softly and timidly echoing, "Amen."

At which point the state's chief prosecutor Eric Nichols stood in the still silent and shocked court room and said, "The state rest."