Polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs wants Texas judge replaced
Attorneys for polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs want to replace the West Texas judge set to preside over his sexual assault and bigamy trial, according to the San Angelo Standard-Times and wire reports.
In a Monday hearing, defense attorneys said 51st District Judge Barbara Walther’s body language has appeared biased against other members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and she is dealing with a potential safety risk, according to the Standard Times.
Defense attorney Jeff Kearney assembled more than a dozen witnesses who testified that Walther has rolled her eyes and used gestures that made her appear frustrated with the defense. In one instance, attorneys said, she leaned back in her chair and looked up at the ceiling — though she later apologized, saying she had a sinus headache.
“Many of the jurors would punch each other, nod their heads and smile to indicate they had seen” Walther’s gestures, said FLDS defense attorney Dan Hurley, the Standard-Times reported.
In addition, defense attorneys claimed that there’s been more security surrounding Walther after a possible threat. During the first trial of an FLDS man, a truck pulled out dangerously close as she traveled to Eldorado, Texas, the Standard-Times reported. Police suspected it may have been someone connected to the sect. Other judges have recused themselves due to security risks, according to the paper.