Smith County jury sentences Dallas man to 60 years for sex trafficking
TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - A Dallas man convicted of sex trafficking women, including at least one minor, was sentenced to 60 years in prison by a Smith County jury.
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 an underaged sex worker Jones was allegedly managing. He was found guilty on Friday, Sept. 1.
In opening statements of the sentencing phase, prosecutors with the Smith County district attorney’s office stated they are asking for a life sentence while Jones’ defense asked the jury to consider whether they would provide a sentence as retribution or rehabilitation.
While there is no Texas law that defines gang membership, the state’s first witness, an undercover officer, said he believes that Jones was a gang member based on the defendant’s own admission, social media posts, use of gang slang words, tattoos, and claims that Jones used members of the Rollin’ 60s gang to intimidate a woman.
On cross examination, Jones’ attorney argued that the detective didn’t have concrete evidence that Jones used members of the gang to intimidate the woman.
The state also claimed to prove Jones’ past criminal history through “stipulation evidence,” highlighting past charges of criminal charges of counterfeiting, engaging in criminal activity, providing a false name and theft. The state also claims that Jones admitted in the past that he was a gang member. However, the defense countered that several of those past charges are misdemeanors with only one felony, and that Jones was younger when he committed them and pleaded guilty to them.
The defense’s witness was Jones’ mother, who said her son was raised in a close-knit family that went to church. She said he has a history of working respectable jobs and running his own business. She said her son has “held himself accountable” for past crimes. She said Jones “needs to come home” to be able to take care of his eight children. She said that her son has made mistakes but is asking the jury for “grace and mercy.”
“He has made mistakes, but everyone makes mistakes,” she said.
On cross examination by the state, Jones’ mother said her son was never part of a street gang, though prosecutors presented evidence he admitted as much. She also said she was not aware Jones owned property in Florida and never knew that her son owned “all those flashy items” like jewelry. Jones’ mother said her son would always help her and the family financially and claimed her son took business management classes at Tyler Junior College.
The state and defense both rested their cases.
The jury struggled to reach a verdict, causing the judge to issue a “dynamite charge,” in which further instruction is provided to the jury to help them reach a unanimous position. The jury then sentenced Jones to 60 years in prison for continuous trafficking of persons.
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