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But Douveas wouldn't flinch. The usually soft-spoken defense attorney said Murray's theory of a criminal conspiracy by Parra and Nava was ridiculous. He noted that Nava performed 150 legitimate stripper shows in six months and encountered trouble only twice because of "aggressive clients."
"The evidence indicates this wasn't about greed," said Douveas. "It's about personal escorts, strippers. We're not here to discuss morals. Stripping is legal, and it's a legitimate business protected by the Constitution. They had an office. They paid rent. They paid taxes."
They also targeted horny men. According to Douveas, everything from brewing companies to hamburger chains to automobile manufacturers use sex to sell products. He said escort businesses are like any other business. They want advertising to grab the attention of potential customers.
"If you can use sex to sell beer, you're going to use sex to sell a stripper service," Douveas told the jury. "But you're selling sex appeal. You are not selling intercourse. It's the illusion of sex. The ads are racy, provocative, and they're also vague."
Douveas and Jensen, on Parra's behalf, argued George was either too horny or too foolish to understand he wasn't paying Nava for prostitution. "The ad said, 'Gorgeous Latina. If you think you can handle this hot body, call,'" said Douveas. "It was not an offer. It was an opinion. It's so vague. . . . Unfortunately, some men try to take advantage of the girls."
Both defense lawyers said that customers "who wouldn't take 'no' for an answer" are the reason strippers like Nava must travel with powerful male guardians like Parra.
"There is no sex, and yet Mr. Murray says that because the girls won't commit a crime [prostitution], they're committing another crime [stealing money from suckered customers]," said Jensen. "It's absurd. It defies logic. It doesn't make sense. This is a modern society. These men are not vulnerable. They know it's illegal to pay someone for sex. Where's the false promise? If the girls promised sex and didn't deliver, there's your false pretense. But that's not what happened here. It's all a word game."
It took the jury took less than two days to reach a verdict in early December. Jurors found both defendants guilty of murder, conspiracy to commit burglary, two counts of burglary, two counts of robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, and two special-circumstance counts of murder in the commission of a burglary or robbery. A slouched Parra said nothing as deputies led him out of the courtroom in handcuffs. Tears filled Nava's eyes as a pained expression swept her face, but she also remained silent.
A male juror, who spoke to the Weekly on condition of anonymity, believes he'll long remember the arrogance of Parra's operation. "They had no conscience," he said. Parra's escorts routinely memorialized their scams with handwritten notes such as "Guy wanted sex; took money and ran" or "Short show. Client angry. Took money" or "Drunk asshole. Took guy's $." In another document, Nava wrote, "Hit and run" and then drew a smiley face next to her words.
After the verdict, Murray looked satisfied. "The key was that these two defendants engaged in felonious conduct," he said. "They schemed to steal from would-be Johns, and now they will have to suffer the consequences of what they did--particularly to Mr. George."
The consequences are bleak. Parra and Nava remain locked in the Orange County jail. Early next year, they'll both be transported in chains to their new, permanent home: state prison.
There, nobody pays for sex.