Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune
Willie Jessop was the sole bidder at an auction on courthouse steps for a property previously used by Warren Jeffs’ Fundamentalist Church of Latter-day Saints Thursday, April 25, 2013. The property includes several homes, a storehouse and what was formerly a public school. Running the auction is Washington County Sheriff Deputy Johnny Owen.
Just sitting in my office scanning the news tonight, and what did I see? It wasn’t the amazing story in the Weekly World News that caught my attention (Bat Boy Sues Batman in Paternity Suit). It was the photograph.
Never thought I would see a pool photo from the trial of FLDS leader Warren Jeffs used in the Weekly World News, and definitely never imagined that they would PhotoShop Bat Boy’s head onto the FLDS prophet’s body. That’s my photo on the right of a similar moment from inside the courthouse.
If you don’t know who Bat Boy is, you haven’t been reading the Weekly World News, the nation’s #1 newspaper dedicated to stories about aliens, Bigfoot, and the famous Bat Boy.
While the story is comic fiction, the last line could just as well have been written about Jeffs’ defense attorney Wally Bugden. It reads:
When asked to comment, the defense attorney simply furrowed his brow, shook his head and walked away.
You can see the article here at the Weekly World News site. It will make you register to see the Bat Boy story, but it’s free.
We sat around for twelve hours on Monday and there was no verdict. On Tuesday the jury re-convened and eventually came to a decision. The word spread quickly among the media waiting outside the courtroom. There was a pool photographer inside the court, and the rest of us gathered around the door waiting for attorneys, Jeffs’ supporters, and anyone else to come out.
This guy came out the door, yelling and waving…having a laugh.
The first TV reporter who came out told us that the verdict was guilty on both counts as he ran past en route to his cameraman. Elaine Tyler, who runs the Hope Organization, was standing off to the side. She heard the verdict and let out a big cheer. The dilemma was between running over to photograph her and staying where I was in one of the best positions by the door. I chose to compromise and moved a little for the above shot and then returning to the door.
The defense attorneys came out and made no comment, chased by a swarm of cameras all the way to their cars.
Later the victim came out and made a statement. And then it was finally over.
I never wrote about the last days of the Jeffs trial. When the verdict came down I drove home and went into chill mode. It was a long time to be away, working this story. It took a couple days to get it all out of my head. So now, two last posts on the Warren Jeffs trial.
It became a daily routine for the attorneys to come over to the computer where the pool images were filed from and look through the photos that had been sent around the world. I could see the prosecution liking the above image and the defense preferring the one below: