A jury today, Aug. 20, convicted a 38-year old Texas man for his role in prostituting two minor females last year, according to the Office of Attorney General Greg Abbott and also United States Attorney Robert Pitman. Abbott, who is a native of Wichita Falls, continues working hard as the top law enforcement official in Texas, while at the same time running for governor.
The Texas governor's election will be determined in November of 2014 with Abbott leading in the polls. But he has not taken his eye off the ball as Attorney General as he continues to fight sex trafficking. In this case his office combined with the U.S. Attorney's Office and the FBI in the investigation and prosecution of Wright.
The San Antonio jury convicted Marcus Deshawn Wright of two counts of sex trafficking of minors and one count of production of child pornography. Jurors heard evidence that Wright along with co-defendants 20-year old Amber Doak and 22-year old Malcolm Deandre Copeland were involved in a plan to entice and encourage minors into engaging in sexual acts for payment.
Wright, who is now in federal custody, is looking at between ten years and life in federal prison for sex trafficking of minors and between 15 and 30 years for production of child pornography. Although he now realizes his address will be in a federal facility somewhere, he will not find out for how long until he is sentenced on January 16, 2015.
Copeland and Doak had previously been convicted. It was on July 23, 2014 that Copeland got the bad news that a jury convicted her of two counts of sex trafficking with minors. Doak waived her right to a trial and pleaded guilty in March 2014 to one count of sex trafficking of minors. Copeland will be sentenced on Dec. 4, 2014. Doak's sentencing date will be September 12, 2014.
Another co-defendant Raymond Valas has a jury trial set for Nov. 17, 2014 in front of U.S. Chief District Judge Fred Biery.
The case was investigated by an array of law enforcement agencies including the Texas Attorney General's Office, the FBI and the San Antonio Police Department. Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Geoff Barr from the Texas Attorney General's Office is also involved in the prosecution along with Assistant U.S. Attorney Bettina Richardson.
Abbott has made the fight against sex trafficking an issue in the governor's race as he's campaigned hard on his strong law enforcement record. The jury's verdict today was only the latest in a long line of successful prosecutions obtained by Abbott's office frequently in conjunction with the feds and other governmental agencies.
If elected governor, Abbott will become the first native of Wichita Falls to ever hold that post.
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