CHICAGO (AP) — A man accused of sex-trafficking a teenager who was allegedly killed by a man who answered an online sex advertisement was convicted Wednesday of the charges by a federal jury.
Joseph Hazley was accused of sex-trafficking Desiree Robinson and two other victims. The 16-year-old Robinson was allegedly killed in December 2016.
The Hazley, 35, is the second person convicted in connection with Robinson’s case. Charles McFee pleaded guilty last year to a sex-trafficking conspiracy. McFee testified during Hazley’s trial, explaining how he sold Robinson to Hazley for a finder’s fee of $250 he never collected.
Prosecutors said Hazley’s trial, which lasted a week, gave jurors a glimpse into his world in 2016.
“A world in which he, a 33-year-old man, used the bodies of 16 and 18-year-old girls,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly Greening said during closing arguments. “He asked others to find him girls who he could convince to have sex for money.”
A friend of Robinson’s testified she texted that she had gone to a house party and indicated she was being held against her will.
Hazley drove Robinson to an appointment in south suburban Markham on Christmas Eve 2016 and waited in the car, prosecutors alleged. When she didn’t return, he went looking and found her body, they said. She’d been beaten, strangled and had her throat slit.
Antonio Rosales of Chicago is awaiting trial in Cook County Circuit Court on first-degree murder and aggravated sexual abuse charges in Robinson’s death.
Defense attorney Raymond Wigell argued prosecutors didn’t come close to proving their case. He also argued Hazley doesn’t look like a pimp seen on TV or in the movies.
“He doesn’t have a gold tooth,” Wigell said. “He’s not pimping it out.”
But prosecutors said Hazley took full control of Robinson’s life, monitoring her’s and the other women’s lives.
Robinson’s death became symbolic of the national fight against the classified ad website Backpage.com. Her mother, Yvonne Ambrose, stood next to President Donald Trump as he signed a law last year aimed at online sex trafficking.
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