Korwin Jones Trial Day 2: Witness says friend was pulled into sex trafficking by defendant

The trial of a man accused of human trafficking in Smith County continued Thursday with the victims taking the stand.
Published: Aug. 31, 2023 at 12:53 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 1, 2023 at 11:57 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - The trial of a man accused of human trafficking in Smith County continued Thursday with the victims taking the stand.

Korwin Jerard Jones, 34, also known as De’Vonta BMT, was accused of participating in human trafficking in April 2020 after a Texas Ranger contacted an investigator in Smith County with information about a sex worker Jones was allegedly managing. The ranger said he suspected Jones of facilitating prostitution and said he may live in Tyler. On Wednesday, Jones’ trial began in the Smith County Courthouse.

Korwin Jones Trial Day 2: Witness says friend was pulled into sex trafficking by defendant

On Thursday, the state called a witness who claimed to have met Jones on a dating website when she was around 18 or 19. Jones did not tell her how old he was, and went by BMT at the time, she said. According to the witness, Jones told her that he was a pimp for a living.

The witness said the two continued to speak, as she didn’t think Jones was serious about his profession. She said she first met Jones at a car wash, and later introduced him to her best friend. During this introduction, the trio spent about an hour and a half visiting and talking about life goals, she said. At the end of the night, the witness’ friend left with Jones rather than the witness herself.

The witness went on to say that after that night she only met her friend at hotels, and the friend told the witness she was now “selling her body for money.” The witness said she tried to do the same, but realized it was not for her. According to the witness, Jones encouraged her to get into sex trafficking, allegedly saying “You have sex for free, so why not get paid while doing it?”

The witness said her friend would meet with about 10 clients per day. After witnessing the alleged prostitution for a while, the witness said she attempted to get out of the scene, suggested other jobs she could do for Jones like selling weed. Regardless, Jones would not let her friend out of the business, the witness said. Eventually, the witness said, she got out by simply leaving and cutting ties with her friend.

The defense then questioned the witness, who said she had met with the state before. According to her, the prosecutors went to her grandmother’s house to contact her, and she was living with her husband in Jefferson when the DA’s office reached out.

According to the witness, when she met Jones on the dating site, she was looking for friends rather than romance. At that time, she said, she was living with her grandparents. Upon questioning, the witness stated that she knew her friend was a sex worker before the friend had been introduced to Jones, and that Jones and her friend never dated. She went on to say her friend was homeless when she began prostituting herself.

The state began questioning the witness again, who said that Jones set the rates for his clients. Jones would also tell the women not to use their real names, she said. The state implied that Jones created accounts for the women, though this was contested by the state.

1:50 p.m. update:

The defense began questioning the witness again, and showed the text messages between her and the friend who worked for Jones. Upon reviewing the messages, the witness sustained that her testimony remains unchanged. The defense stated that they wished to impeach the witness, but the judge noted that the text messages were not included in discovery.

The defense then said that they had spoken to the witness’ friend twice face-to-face and once over the phone Thursday. They claimed that the witness speaks to the victim about the trial outside of court, but the witness denied this, saying the victim cries about the situation and the witness simply comforts her.

After a brief questioning by the state, the defense took back the witness, saying that she had made up a list of Jones clients, but the witness denied the claim.

The state then called a new witness, who testified that she and Jones dated. She also knew Jones as BMT, and said she was unaware of any other names. According to the witness, they met when she was 17 through social media. She said Jones reached out to her first, and they spoke for a few weeks before meeting. She noted that when looking through Jones’ social media, she saw no signs of him being involved in sex trafficking.

The witness said that she and Jones dated normally, going out to eat and other regular activities. Jones told her he was from Dallas, not Tyler, she said, and she was not aware of his age while they were involved. At the time, she was still in high school, and she said they dated for almost a year, seeing each other every other weekend.

He was constantly out of town, she said, and as far as she knew his income came from owning a car wash. She said he sent her money every two weeks for food and upkeep. According to the witness, she never saw Jones involved in human trafficking, though she once confronted him about talking to other girls.

The defense then questioned the witness, who restated that she had no awareness of Jones’ involvement in sex trafficking. She said that Jones never attempted to get any money from her.

2:40 p.m. update:

The state called Carly Sofia Loughmiller, 22, of Hawkins, as a witness. Loughmiller is currently under indictment for allegedly assisting in the sex trafficking of a minor, for which she was charged in 2022. An arrest affidavit in her original case said that she was possibly sex trafficked by Jones.

Upon questioning by the state Thursday, Loughmiller said she met Jones on a dating app when she was 18 or 19, and that their relationship was work related, not romantic. Loughmiller said she talked to Jones for a time, and eventually he told her he was a pimp. She said she began working for him in February of 2020.

Jones gave Loughmiller a quota of $700 to $1,000 per day that she had to make through her sex work, she said, and she would see three to 10 clients per day to fulfill this. She said she and Jones both posted ads for her sex work. Loughmiller said she wouldn’t keep any of the money herself, but as Jones wasn’t around much, he wouldn’t always be there to collect. Loughmiller said she got into sex work to make “easy money,” and Jones would pay her at times so that she could “treat herself.”

Loughmiller said she ended up leaving Jones’ management in April of 2020, because she was getting “weird vibes” from him. She recalled a time that Jones confronted her and another woman at a Walmart after they had gotten tired of staying at a hotel. According to Loughmiller, Jones was upset that they had left the hotel, though he never physically touched her.

Loughmiller said there were other rules the victims had to follow, such as only seeing “guys who were white,” supposedly for their own protection. She said the sex workers did drugs on the job, listing cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana, and alcohol. According to her, Jones would get drugs for the women.

The state asked Loughmiller why she didn’t simply keep all the money and leave Jones, to which she replied that he had her location, and she was both afraid of and loyal to him. She said she was young and naïve, and wanted a lifestyle like Jones’, in which he flaunts his money.

Eventually, Loughmiller said, she left Jones in the middle of the night, taking only $1,000. She said she felt taken advantage of, as she was doing all the work and Jones was benefitting from it.

Upon questioning by the defense, Loughmiller said Jones was annoyed that she left. The defense argued that she was already doing sex work before meeting Jones, and that she hasn’t had any trouble with him since leaving. Loughmiller admitted that she and Jones had consensual sex before, and the defense brought up her felony indictment.

Loughmiller said that she quit sex work when she went to jail at the beginning of 2023, and that Jones had never enticed her into the work. She also said that Jones never drover her to clients. The defense argued that she never called the police on Jones.

The state took back the stand, arguing that Loughmiller was taking on all the risk of the sex trafficking, while Jones was the one making all the money.

The defense then argued that Loughmiller was the one breaking the law for posting trafficking ads to illegal websites.

4:40 p.m. update:

The state called a new witness for testimony who said she turned to sex work when she was 15 to 16. She said Jones was the one who “assisted her,” and she was indicted once for assisting human trafficking. She said she first contacted Jones through Facebook, and while she doesn’t remember who brought up sex work, she stated that it was a mutual decision.

The witness said Jones took care of the ads for her sex work, and both of them worked to find clients, though Jones did most of this work as well. According to her, Jones took care of her, driving her around and feeding her, and though their relationship started out as romantic it became work related.

She said Jones never touched her inappropriately, and they never had sex. She would see around four or five men per day, she said, typically making around $1,000, of which she kept little. According to the witness, Jones uploaded photos of her to online accounts, and she had no part in negotiating clients or offers. She admitted that she was underage when she worked with Jones.

The witness said that Jones collected the money from her at the end of each week, and she was alone the rest of the time. She said she had no protection during this time. Her connection with Jones lasted around two years, she said, and she did not enjoy the work. She stated that she left Jones when she was around 17 or 18 years old.

The witness said that she knew Jones had other sex workers in his employ. She has three tattoos that say BMT; one on her face, one on her chest, and one on her lower body. According to her, she had not been coerced into getting these. She said she would travel outside the city to do sex work, and estimated she made around $100,000, all kept by Jones.

The defense took the witness, and showed her old Facebook page. They said that she had been incarcerated before for giving police a false identity, and she had dropped out of high school. The state argued that she had misrepresented her age as 18 on social media, which they pointed out could have led Jones to believing she was of age.

The trial of a man accused of human trafficking in Smith County continued Thursday with the victims taking the stand.
Kristine Guevara describes what it was like in the courtroom on the second day of Korwin Jones' trial.