I’m sure that the FLDS will appreciate this photo of the Tom Green County Courthouse this morning. After Friday’s crazy media scene, the court officers have moved the media lines back about twenty feet and the new yellow tape they put up to keep us back reads, “CRIME SCENE.”
I spent the morning photographing people walking into court. Above is Rod Parker, Dan Jessop, and Willie Jessop. But I don’t know who this guy is:
Originally published on December 10, 2008.
Officers outside the Tom Green County Courthouse to provide security for the mandatory 14-day custody hearing for over 400 children removed from the FLDS Church’s YFZ Ranch.
People began arriving pretty early. I had met this woman the day before when we poked our heads into her SUV. She stood outside the courthouse for a brief moment while the man she walked in with (her attorney?) talked with some reporters.
Two very different emotions in the photo above and the one below, considering that she would either have her kids returned or kept in custody in the hearing to follow.
In walk the attorneys for the FLDS: Rod Parker, “spokesman” Willie Jessop, Richard Wright, Bruce Griffen (he’s back there somewhere).
I love the look on her face after wading through the media, who gathered in a pack at this entryway. Doesn’t she look calm in contrast to their frenzy?
Out of the 400+ attorneys who came to the hearing to represent all sides, Susan Hays was the only one who stopped to talk. She became a regular fixture in news reports on the case. If she was a cartoon character, her catchphrase would be, “I won’t talk about my client.”
The line began to form outside the courthouse, and pretty soon it stretched halfway across the block.
Originally published on December 8, 2008.
Last post from the media availability with FLDS women on the YFZ Ranch after they were removed from their children by CPS. This is Marie, who had three children taken in from her earlier in the day.
We loaded into vehicles and came right to Grandfather’s home. We immediately met with some of the attorneys. They asked us if we wanted to give our stories. About 5:30, they let the media in, and we gave our stories by Grandfather’s house. Our emotions were high, and the experience was fresh on our minds.
That night we slept on some bunk beds at the Big House. That bed felt good! My thoughts continually turned to my three boys. I yearned unto the Lord that they would not feel that I had forsaken them, for as I walked back to famous side room, I thought, “I’d rather die than have them take these precious children from me. I’d rather fight to the death then let them do that.” But the Heavenly Father had a different plan, and I have learned that His ways are best.
After she had talked with several reporters, a concerned Rod Parker walked over and told Marie to head upstairs, for her own sake. She was obviously spent. You can read Marie’s personal account of the raid at this link.