Finally light at the end of a long dark tunnel

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

SAN ANGELO, Texas -- For jurors in Warren Jeffs' sexual assault trial, there is now finally and mercifully light at the end of what must have seemed like a very long, dark and stomach-turning tunnel. 

Prosecutors on Monday rested their case in the penalty phases of the polygamous prophet's Texas trial.  Jeffs' defense then, once again, offered not a single witness or a shred of evidence to counteract or mitigate the avalanche of  alleged "bad acts" on the part of Jeffs that prosecutors dumped into the court room of Judge Barbara Walther during the last couple of days.  

Since finding Jeffs guilty last week of sexually assaulting two young girls at his massive gated gulag known as the YFZ Ranch, the two-man, ten-woman jury has listened as chief prosecutor Eric Nichols and his very professional team have made a strong case that Jeffs' wrong-doing goes way beyond his abuse of his two young victims.

Jurors heard more startling audio tapes of Jeffs allegedly sexually grooming and assaulting numerous young girls, telling them on one tape that if they reject his instructions they will be rejected by God and saying "set aside inhibition and reservation."

During a very emotional session on Saturday, some jurors wept openly as they heard testimony  from two former Jeffs followers, both of whom are now telling how as very young children they were sexually molested and assaulted by Jeffs  One of them is a young woman who told jurors she was molested by Jeffs when she was 5; the other is Jeffs' nephew, Brent Jeffs, who told the court that he was sodomized by his much older uncle when he was only 7.

Jurors also heard about the many men excommunicated by Jeffs over the years, men who then had their wives and children torn from them and "reassigned" to other FLDS men. 

At one point, prosecutors read a document allegedly prepared by Jeffs in which the self-proclaimed talks about his plans to take a 13-year-old girl as a plural bride.  Jeffs goes on to say that if the outside world knew of his plans "they would hang me from the highest tree."  At this point, the polygamous prophet is probably grateful that that is not an option for the jurors.  

Closing statements in the penalty phase were slated for Tuesday morning and then the jury will decide just how many decades Jeffs will spend in a Texas prison.