The Fresno Police Department put another dent in the city’s human trafficking problem: A man was convicted this week of pimping and pandering a 14-year-old girl and his 37-year-old girlfriend.
Jonathan Boyd, 35, faces at least 30 years to life in prison when he is sentenced on Nov. 7 in Fresno Superior Court.
During the trial, defense lawyer Kendall Simsarian contended that Boyd was the victim of mistaken identity. Simsarian said the 14-year-old victim could not identify Boyd in court as her perpetrator and did not identify him to police.
But prosecutor Miiko Anderson wrote in a trial brief that Fresno police detectives were able to identify Boyd as the girl’s pimp from text messages on her cell phone and on his cell phone.
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Because Boyd’s girlfriend failed to show up to court to testify, Anderson linked him to her through his telephone calls from jail. In the calls, the pair talked about sex trafficking and the girlfriend later put $20 in Boyd’s jail account four times, the brief says.
A jury on Tuesday found him guilty of four felony charges involving the 14-year-old – trafficking a minor to do sex acts, pimping, pandering and lewd acts with a minor. The jury also convicted him of pimping and pandering his girlfriend.
Jurors, however, found him not guilty of raping a 32-year-old woman and trying to convince her to become a sex worker for him.
Mother’s call tipped police
Anderson’s trial brief gave this account:
In February this year, police were dispatched to the 14-year-old’s home after her mother reported her daughter was suicidal. The girl was upset, angry and crying when officers arrived, and she kept looking at her cell phone for text messages.
Before she was taken to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation, the girl blurted out that her mother and police were going to get her “in trouble.”
At the hospital, the girl told a detective that she was a sex trafficking victim, but declined to identify her pimp. But she told the detective that she was walking to a store near Palm and Belmont avenues when a man who went by the name of “Money” approached her. They then exchanged phone numbers.
Soon, after they began to text each other.
Police then got a warrant to retrieve the text messages from the girl’s phone, which led them to Boyd.
Covering for her pimp
In one of the text messages, the sender introduces himself as “Jonathan Boyd,” according to Anderson’s trial brief. Another text message tells the girl that she has to “prostitute herself for him” and give him the money.
The girl told police that he was her boyfriend and “girls will do anything for their boyfriends,” the brief says. She declined to pick Boyd out of a police lineup and gave police false information about him.
But she later told her mother that she lied to police because she didn’t want to get Boyd in trouble, the brief says.
Boyd was proud of his work as pimp, the brief says. In a text message, “he brags about his pimping expertise” and says he had been in prison for five years for pimping and away “from the game a long time.”
According to the brief, Boyd tells the 14-year-old she could help him “get back into the game.” He also tells the girl she can’t leave him because she “is his by all means necessary,” the brief says.
Police said Boyd sent a text message to the girl as she was headed to the hospital for her psych evaluation. In the message, Boyd tells her she “better have some bread when I see you or I will chop your hair off.”
Detective also found his public Facebook page in which Boyd makes references to being a pimp since 2012, Anderson’s brief says.
Boyd was arrested on March 7. He will be held in in the Fresno County Jail without bail until his sentencing next month.