Jacquelyn Maitland / Contributing Writer
Updated 6:32 p.m. July 31, 2013
William Bernard Jacobs, 30, accused of trafficking a 14-year-old girl from Denton County, pled guilty and exchanged a jury trial for a 20-year prison sentence. His alleged accomplice Shayla Dawn Williams, 20, is on the trial docket and faces a possible five-year sentence, prosecutor Michael Dickens said. If accepted, she will be eligible to apply for parole in 30 months.
In a statement, defense attorney Tim Powers said that Jacobs’ potential punishment range was a minimum of 15 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and a maximum punishment range of 99 years or life in prison. He explained that the role of a defense attorney is to zealously represent clients in order to get the best result through the facts and evidence they are able to present in court.
“In this particular case,” Powers said, “had we taken the route of a jury trial, it was my estimation that Jacobs would have served the rest of his life in prison.”
This is the first reported case of human trafficking in Denton County. Jacobs was indicted on charges of trafficking persons under 18 for purposes of prostitution and sexual assault of a child.
Williams and the victim, “Berry Allison,” were expected to testify against Jacobs until the New Orleans man accepted the plea bargain.
6 p.m. July 30, 2012
A New Orleans man is being tried in Denton today for prostituting a 14-year-old girl to more than 30 men, including six who appeared to be from the Denton area code and used names including “UNT Frosh,” “UNT Frat Guy Kinky” and “UNT Teach,” according to court documents.
This is the first human trafficking case in Denton County, Defense Attorney Tim Powers said.
William Bernard Jacobs, 30, and Shayla Dawn Williams, 20, are accused of luring a young girl who wore a Tweety Bird shirt and pigtails in her hair into a world filled with drugs, money and prostitution.
According to the affidavit, Jacobs and Williams transported the 14-year-old to five states from July 7, 2012 to July 31, 2012, to meet with more than 30 male clients for prostitution. Jacobs is charged with sexual assault of a child and trafficking of persons under 18 for purposes of prostitution. The now 15-year-old victim, who is using the name “Berry Allison” in court proceedings, is currently with her mother in Allen, preparing to testify.
In an interview with police, Williams said that this was not her first time being involved with prostitution. A 10th grade dropout from Chico, Texas, Williams said she began hanging out with “the wrong types of people.” According to the affidavit, Williams said she had corresponded with individuals on a site called ‘Mocospace.com’ who advised her “they could make a little money.” Williams then began posting photos of herself to an Internet site known as “Backpage.com,” which was used as advertisement for prostitution.
Williams said she met Jacobs in May 2012 on Mocospace.com, where they began chatting. Jacobs eventually picked Williams up from a location in Fort Worth and told her a familiar phrase, “they were going to make a little money.” According to court records, between May 31, 2012, and August 31, 2012, Williams sold her body to clients and gave the proceeds to Jacobs.
In July 2012, Williams met 14-year-old Berry Allison on Mocospace.com and began discussing the possibility of “making money” to her. Between exchanged messages, Allison told Williams she was 19 and having family issues with her mother and stepdad, according to the affidavit. Williams and Allison agreed that Williams and Jacobs would pick up Allison from her mother’s home in Allen and she could stay with them.
According to court documents, Williams and Jacobs had been staying at an extended stay hotel in Lewisville, where they returned with 14-year-old Allison. When they arrived, the three of them smoked marijuana together and began taking photos of Allison to post as advertisements for prostitution, Williams said.
The affidavit says on that same day, Allison’s mother Desiree Votaw had called Williams on her cell phone to ask them to bring her daughter home. Allison’s mother also told Williams that her daughter was only 14. Records state that when Williams and Allison were conversing online, Allison said she was 19. Williams and Jacobs ignored Votaw’s request and what she had conveyed regarding Allison’s age, the affidavit said.
The next day, Williams and Jacobs left Lewisville and took Allison on a seven state tour of Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Colorado, Kentucky, Florida and Tennessee, all for prostitution according to court records. Williams would set up Allison’s clients, and she or Jacobs would lease the motel or hotel rooms at various locations.
The method of payment would be made in cash or on a pre-paid VISA card, according to the affidavit. The prices varied from $100 to $150 per session, depending on if the session was for 30 minutes or for an hour. Jacobs “called the shots,” according to Williams, and collected every penny the two girls made, the affidavit said.
The affidavit says that Jacobs provided Williams and Allison with marijuana on a daily basis, but he would become angry and sometimes abusive if they didn’t do exactly what he asked. Evidence stated that Jacobs instructed Allison not to have sex face to face with a client, only have sex with a client in a “doggy-style” position, always wear protection and not have sex with any black men. On different occasions, according to legal documents, Jacobs also encouraged Williams and Allison to have sexual relations with one another or engage in a threesome with him.
After nearly a month of exposing the 14-year-old to drugs, sex and abuse, the three returned to the hotel in Lewisville around July 30, 2012. With Allison still at the hotel, Williams and Jacobs fled, according to officials. Allison was soon located by Lewisville Police Department after a Missing Person Report had been issued by Allen Police Department.
In August 2012, the Homeland Security Investigations led North Texas Trafficking Task Force to the arrest of Williams and Jacobs. Officials tapped Williams’ cell phone to find the location where she and Jacobs were at the time.
Special Agent Keith Owens and Fort Worth Police Officer Manny Reyes arrested Williams and Jacobs in the parking lot of a hotel in Arlington. It became a Denton County case primarily because Allison was picked up and brought to Lewisville which is where she was first indoctrinated, Powers said.
After the arrests and charges had been made against Williams and Jacobs, detectives found saved in William’s phone the alleged UNT students and a faculty member who appeared to have been customers of Williams and Allison. Powers said no charges would be made against any “Johns” in the case.
“In cases like this, we primarily want the suspects and victims and the area in which prostitution is going on,” he said. “We’re not focused on the Johns.”