In the human slave trade, Fresno pimp Herbert Deon Goodwin Jr. had a list of rules for his victims regarding prices and sex acts, and women who crossed him would be beaten.
And to keep one victim from leaving him, Goodwin stole her dead mother’s ashes, prosecutor Miiko Anderson said.
His reign of terror ended late Friday afternoon when a Fresno County Superior Court jury convicted Goodwin of seven felony charges involving the human trafficking of two women, ages 17 and 42. The evidence against Goodwin was so moving, his mother brought to court the cremated remainsthat her son had stolen from one of his victims, Anderson said.
Goodwin, 34, now faces 36 years to life in prison when he is sentenced on Nov. 14. Until then, Superior Court Judge Edward Sarkisian Jr. ordered Goodwin to remain in the Fresno County Jail without bail.
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He’s my pimp. He’s going to kill me.
The jury took less than five hours to convict Goodwin, whom Anderson described as the worst type of offender because “there’s no way to deter him.”
When Goodwin was arrested in April this year, he was on parole for a 2012 felony conviction of pimping of a 15-year-old girl, Anderson said.
While on parole, Goodwin showed signs of being rehabilitated by meeting with his parole officer, attending classes and wearing a GPS monitor to track his whereabouts. He also got a job with a company that gave away government-assistance cell phones to the needy.
But behind his parole officer’s back, he was using the government-issued phones to make money as a human trafficker, Anderson said.
His two victims were especially vulnerable because they had no family in Fresno, the prosecutor said.
The case began on April 5 this year when the 17-year-old ran away from a Fresno foster home. The foster mother told police the girl is bipolar and wasn’t taking her medication, court records say.
The next day the girl called the national human trafficking hotline, saying she was in need of help. The girl used a government-assistance cell phone that Goodwin gave to her to call customers, Anderson said. The cell phone contained sexually explicit text messages and photographs of the 17-year-old.
The Superior Court jury took less than five hours to convicted Goodwin of seven felony counts of human trafficking.
The Fresno Police Department called the cell phone, and when the girl answered, an officer went to a motel on Blackstone and Ashlan avenues. There, a police officer found the frightened girl who “reported being physically assaulted by the defendant,” according to Anderson’s trial brief.
“He’s my pimp. He’s going to kill me,” she told the officer, according to the trial brief.
The officer convinced the girl to get into his patrol car. The girl wasn’t able to give details about Goodwin, Anderson said, because she has just met him the day before. Fortunately Goodwin drove into the parking lot of the motel while the girl was in the officer’s patrol car. Once she saw him, she began to cry.
A police investigation by Detective Grant Bradford discovered that the 17-year-old girl wasn’t Goodwin’s only victim. Motel staff told police that Goodwin rented one room for the 17-year-old girl and another room for a 42-year-old woman.
The woman told Bradford that she met Goodwin at a kiosk where he was giving away government-assistance cell phones. She said she was in need of friends because she had just been released from the Chowchilla state prison after serving 22 years years for carjacking.
Initially, Goodwin was nice to her, taking her to restaurants and other places, Anderson said. Then he suggested that she become a prostitute for him. At first, she thought he was kidding. She reluctantly agreed because “she thought she was proving to the defendant how much she loved him,” Anderson’s trial brief said.
The woman told Bradford that Goodwin set the prices to charge customers. He also had a set of rules to follow, such as having the customer wear a condom.
She told Bradford that Goodwin punched her in the eye for breaking one of his rules.
The woman said Goodwin constantly kept tabs on her and seldom left her alone. She was able to escape from Goodwin when he left to attend a class ordered by his parole officer, Anderson said. But in doing so, she had to leave her mother’s ashes behind.
On Monday, Anderson said the victim was going to be reunited with her mother’s remains.