See the update at the end of this post on the conviction of Chuncey Tarae Garcia.
ORIGINAL POST, MARCH 4, 2:06 P.M.: "King Slim the Boss" is his chosen nickname, and though he is most certainly slim, inside Superior Court Judge Michael J. Cassidy's Santa Ana courtroom, accused pimp Chuncey Tarae Garcia is neither king nor boss.
The gangly Garcia wore a blue suit and a frown of frustration today when Deputy District Attorney Daniel Varon expertly gave his opening trial statement and accused him of forcibly raping a 14-year-old Scottsdale, Arizona, girl and converting her into a prostitute sold on the Internet in Orange County.
Though sweet-looking with perfect skin and long hair, the victim--known in court only as "Jane Doe" because she is a minor--isn't attending the trial, but Varon made her his first witness by airing video recordings of her previously telling her story under oath.
Doe's tale isn't pretty.
At the time of her 14th birthday, she ran away from horrible home conditions after getting expelled for fighting in school, landed a job as a stripper at Skin Cabaret in Scottsdale, met prostitute Cierra Melissa Robinson and got introduced to Garcia, whom, the prosecutor says, wasted no time selling her to anonymous men in the Phoenix area, Anaheim and Buena Park.
"We are talking about a 14-year-old child," Varon told a jury of six women and six men. "This girl never had a chance."
Garcia's alleged pimping operation ended when a Garden Grove cop pulled him over in his Mercedes in the middle of the night last March for a broken headlight and found him with Doe, Robinson and another prostitute.
Doe told authorities that Garcia--who will turn 34 years old on Friday--used intimidation and force in a business in which the females had a $200-per-day income quota and were expected to surrender all their earnings to him, as well as address him as "Pimpin" or "Daddy."
She also claimed that if she didn't reach the quota, he wouldn't allow her to eat dinner.
In his opening statement, Gilbert P. Carreon, Garcia's defense lawyer, labeled Doe a liar.
"In this case, you have to evaluate the person giving you the information," Carreon said. "She never disclosed to my client that she was 14 or under 18 years old. . . . You have to decide what happened based on the facts, and not on any sympathy for the victim."
Although California law renders children incapable of giving consent for sex with an adult, Carreon nevertheless declared that Doe willingly had intercourse with the pimp, a crime the prosecutor says DNA forensic evidence proves.
A July 2013 jury found Robinson, Garcia's 28-year-old co-defendant, guilty, and a judge sentenced her to five years in prison; she is living in Folsom State Prison in Represa.
Garcia--who has already been to prison for selling cocaine (2007) and for transporting cocaine (2009)--faces a maximum potential prison sentence of 28 years if convicted on all counts.
District Attorney Tony Rackauckas has made human-trafficking cases a priority in his office, especially because Anaheim, home of Disneyland, is a continual hotbed of underage prostitution activity.
UPDATE, MARCH 7, 4:39 P.M.: Chuncey Tarae Garcia was convicted today for trafficking a 14-year-old girl into prostitution in the first Orange County case of human trafficking of a minor under Proposition 35.
The jury found the 33-year-old guilty of one felony count of human trafficking and one felony count of pimping a minor under 16, with a sentencing enhancement allegation for human trafficking of a minor by force, fear or duress.
A mistrial was declared on a rape charge because jurors deadlocked 11-1 in favor of conviction.
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Right now, Garcia faces a maximum sentence of 17 years to life in state prison at his scheduled April 25 sentencing in Santa Ana. Under Prop. 35, sentences for pimps who traffic the underage face more time than they had before voters passed the measure.
Before the sentencing hearing, the judge is considering additional sentencing-enhancement allegations for prior prison convictions for possession for sale of cocaine in 2007 and transportation of cocaine in 2009, according to the Orange County district attorney's office.