By Julietta Bisharyan
WOODLAND – During a remote preliminary hearing in Yolo County Superior Court, a man was charged with human trafficking a minor, among other women in his prostitution ring.
The defendant, Jasyn Iez Bigasan Carter, was held to answer on 18 counts, including the pimping and pandering of a minor and adult, corporal injury, assault by force, dissuading a witness and inflicting great bodily injury during human trafficking.
Assistant District Attorney Rachel Raymond called Det. Robert Brazier to the stand, and he said that both the both the minor and adult prostitute would post their ads on a well-known escort website called “Adultlook.”
Raymond shared screenshots of text messages between the defendant and one of the prostitutes to the court, which Brazier recalled seeing. The conversation shows Carter expressing anger at the prostitute for talking about her age with others.
“U just gotta b on point cuz they already b questioning me about y’all age,” reads one of the defendant’s messages.
In one of Carter’s jail calls to his mother, Brazier says the defendant sounded “very motivated” to get items out of the trunk from one of his cars. Two of Carter’s cars were subject to a search warrant, which Brazier conducted on May 12, alongside the defendant’s mother.
Brazier recalls having trouble opening the trunk of one of the vehicles since the defendant’s mother did not have the keys. Once open, he found several plastic bags full of women’s clothing, two duffle bags and a pair of Jordan’s.
He also found a Glock pistol and ammunition along with a rifle inside one of the bags. After running the serial numbers of the firearm, Brazier confirmed that they were stolen items.
During his investigation, Brazier watched video surveillance of the hotel that the defendant and one of the prostitutes stayed at. The footage shows the two individuals walking in and out of Room 3 and getting into a physical altercation.
Brazier said he saw the defendant wrap his arm around the woman as she tried to strike him while pulling his shirt. After a few minutes, someone knocked on their door and asked, “Is everything okay?” Carter responded by saying that everything was fine.
According to the adult prostitute’s mother, the woman suffers from mental health conditions, including depression and bipolar disorder, which she takes medication for. Since running away from her group home, she hasn’t taken been following up with her prescriptions.
In one statement made to another officer, the woman said she felt like Carter cared for her—unlike other pimps—and that he was a friend.
District Attorney Investigator Stephen Jerguson later testified that during his investigation of Carter’s emails, he found multiple photos of the adult and minor prostitute wearing lingerie in hotel rooms. He also watched a video of the defendant and adult woman having sexual intercourse, shot from Carter’s perspective through a video camera.
In the video, Carter wraps his arm around the woman’s neck, putting her in a choke hold.
The last witness sworn in was Investigator Jennifer Davis, who specializes in human trafficking. While discussing her qualifications, she mentioned that she has spoken with victims of prostitution from ages 13-60.
After Judge David Rosenberg qualified her as an expert witness on human trafficking, Davis began discussing the different terminologies used.
She described “the game,” which refers to the subculture of prostitution. Davis explained that the rules of “the game” vary between different exploiters, but one of them prohibits prostitutes from making eye contact with other pimps.
Davis mentioned that both the adult and minor prostitute knew each other in high school and had pimps in the past. The two would often post ads on their own without consulting with Carter.
Raymond screen shared multiple text messages between Carter and one of the prostitutes with the court. Davis confirmed that they appear to be consistent of human trafficking nature.
Before being dismissed, Davis said that it was normal for prostitutes to continue working after their pimp gets arrested. Often times they have nowhere else to go to and have become accustomed to making money that way.
Judge Rosenberg then asked for the attorney’s arguments, specifically regarding the GBI (great bodily injury) enhancement and the count of dissuading a witness.
Raymond argued that there was significant bruising to the adult prostitute’s neck following their physical alteration at the hotel and that she might have lost consciousness at one point.
In one text message, Carter asks that no one go to court, which Raymond interpreted as dissuasion of a witness.
Defense Attorney Monica Brushia argued that the witness who knocked on the hotel room did not take note of any unconscious woman. In the surveillance footage, the woman was able to walk without losing her balance. The bruise on the neck could also be a hickey instead of an injury caused from strangulation.
Brushia also interpreted the defendant’s “dissuading” text message as a concern of coronavirus, noting that nobody wants to come to court during a pandemic. She said she didn’t detect an angry or threatening tone either, asking that he not be held to answer for that charge.
“Regarding the virus, in that same text message, he calls it a ‘stupid ass virus.’ Maybe he doesn’t take it as seriously as it would appear,” said Raymond.
“I don’t know, Ms. Raymond. In the language of the streets, ‘stupid ass’ may be pretty significant,” responded Judge Rosenberg.
Judge Rosenberg found that there is some sufficient evidence to support the great bodily injury charge and will hold Carter to answer for it. Carter, however, will not be held on the dissuading of a witness charge.
Bail is set for $1.075 million, and an arraignment for information has been scheduled for Jun. 26, at 9 a.m. in Department 14.
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