Paxton’s Human Trafficking Division Announces 99-Year Sentence in Hunt County Human Trafficking Trial
AUSTIN, TX – Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that Barbara Barrett, of Greenville, has been found guilty of Continuous Trafficking of a Child in Hunt County and received a sentence of 99 years in jail.
Barrett and her husband, Jeffery Barrett, are accused of abusing and neglecting their adopted children while forcing them to work in a puppy mill attached to their home.
Both were charged with Continuous Trafficking of Persons. Paxton’s Human Trafficking and Transnational Organized Crime Division assisted the Hunt County District Attorney in prosecution of Barrett.
“It is heartbreaking to know this horrid abuse was happening in our state, and it is unfathomable that a person could be so heartless to abuse the foster care system and use children in need of a loving, safe home as slave labor,” Attorney General Paxton said. “There is no excuse for this evil behavior, and it will not be tolerated in our state. We can only hope this successful prosecution will bring some degree of justice to the children that were robbed of the love and care they deserved. I will never stop fighting against human trafficking.”
The Election Integrity Unit made one noteworthy arrest last week.
In Nolan County, Kenneth Ray Teaff was arrested on Aug. 26 after being indicted by a grand jury for one count of Fraudulent Use of Application for Ballot by Mail and one count of Tampering with a Government Record. This case involves allegations that Teaff applied for a ballot by mail in the name of his deceased brother during the November 2020 Nolan County General Election.
The Fugitive Apprehension Unit made two noteworthy arrests last week.
In Dallas County, Arlis Jamel Waits was arrested by the Rowlett Police Department on Aug. 25, in Rowlett, on an outstanding warrant for Indecency with a Child.
In Tarrant County, Gerald Ray Burnett was arrested on Aug. 24 in Fort Worth. In 2013, Burnett was convicted in Tarrant County of Aggravated Sexual Assault and was sentenced to 5 years in prison. Burnett failed to comply with the applicable sex offender registration requirements and the Fort Worth Police Department issued the corresponding Fail to Register Sex Offender warrant.
Paxton’s Fugitive Apprehension Unit Arrests 18 Violent Parole Violators in Operation
AUSTIN, TX – Last week, Office of the Attorney General Arlington and Austin Fugitive Unit Personnel conducted an operation that focused on apprehending and arresting parole violators with violent felony convictions, violent criminal history and gang affiliations. The teams focused on parole violators in the Amarillo area, which consisted of both Potter and Randall counties. During the week, 18 suspects were arrested.
The suspects were currently on parole for offenses such as Murder, Assault, Robbery, Possession of Firearm by a Felon, Assault Family Violence, Drugs and various other felonies, including violent criminal histories. The Amarillo Police Department assisted with providing intel leading to some of the arrests. The following suspects were arrested during the operation:
Ruben James Solis, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Burglary of Habitation Felony 2nd Degree in 2018 violated the conditions of his parole by being arrested for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by Felon.
Jeremy Juan Mendoza, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Injury to Child/Elderly/Disabled with Intent Bodily Injury Felony 3rd Degree in 2017.
Tiundrae Delmar Nelson, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Possession of a Controlled Substance PG 1 4-200 Grams in 2006 with a history of aggravated assault.
Michael Wayne Cooper, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Possession of a Controlled Substance PG 1 1-4 Grams in 2018 with a history of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Chad Edwin Hooser, Amarillo, Parole Violations for Possession of a Controlled Substance PG 1 1-4 Grams and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Felon in 2017.
Antonio Ford Arreola, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Possession of a Controlled Substance PG 1 4-200 Grams and Manufacture/Delivery of a Controlled Substance PG 1 4-200 Grams in 2013 with a criminal history of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon.
Alan Dale Howard, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Burglary of Habitation in 1994 with a history of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon.
Patricio Garza Guzman, Amarillo, Parole Violation for two counts of Burglary of Habitation in 2009 with a history of Possession of Firearms by a Felon.
Kevin Don Groom, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Murder in 1993.
Andrew Walter Pettis Jr, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Robbery Felony 2nd Degree in 2015.
Justin Guzman, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Indecency with a Child Sexual Contact and Attempted Indecency with a Child in 2015.
Mark Edward Fox, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Theft of a Firearm and Unlawful Possession of a Firearm by a Felon in 2017.
John Jennings, Amarillo, Parole Violation for two counts of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon in 2002.
Richard Earl Ewing, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon in 2014.
Joseph Johnny Sustaita, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Unlawful Possession of Firearm by a Felon in 2016.
David Ray Nivens, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Assault Breath Impediment Family/Household Member with Two Prior Convictions in 2018.
Ricardo Fernandez, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Burglary of a Habitation in 2016 with a criminal history of Robbery.
Angela Lynn Ramirez, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Injury to Child/Elderly/Disabled in 2016.
Steven Lee Thompson, Amarillo, Parole Violation for Aggravated Robbery in 2012.
The Fugitive Apprehension Unit made several noteworthy arrests last week.
In Travis County, Jose Antonio Garcia-Barriga was arrested in Austin on an outstanding warrant for Sexual Assault of a Child issued by the Austin Police Department. This arrest was made on Aug. 6 while working in conjunction with the United States Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force out of Austin.
In Travis County, Cesar Ambrosio Sanchez was arrested in Austin on an outstanding warrant for Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child issued by the Austin Police Department. This arrest was made on Aug. 3 while working in conjunction with the United States Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force out of Austin.
In Galveston County, Ismael Ruiz Jr. was arrested in Galveston on outstanding warrants for Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child, Sexual Assault and Injury to a Child/Elderly/Disabled issued by the Galveston Police Department. This arrest was made on Aug. 3 while working in conjunction with the Gulf Coast Violent Offender Task Force.
Parents sent to prison in 2015 Fayetteville slaying, sex assault of 3-year-old daughter
Cumberland County, NC – A Fayetteville mother and father were sent to prison Monday for the 2015 sexual abuse and death of their malnourished 3-year-old daughter.
After a week of testimony and just over four hours of deliberation, a Cumberland County jury found Jamarkus Smith, 31, guilty of first-degree murder, taking indecent liberties with a child, intentional child abuse inflicting serious injury, felonious child abuse and two counts of sex offense with a child by an adult in the death of his daughter, Jourdin A’Legacy Smith.
Jourdin’s mother and Smith’s wife, Octavia Bennett-Smith, 32, a former Fort Bragg Army sergeant, pleaded guilty in December 2019.
Testimony in Smith’s trial began July 19, with closing arguments on Friday.
Following the jury verdict, Smith professed his innocence when he addressed the court before sentencing.
“I showed them I was innocent,” he said. “They know I’m innocent, and you know I’m innocent. Everybody here knows. How is that right? At what point is the legal system about justice?”
No statements were made on behalf of Jourdin before Judge Claire Hill sentenced Smith to life imprisonment for the murder and a combined 25 to 35 years for the other charges. He will also be required to register as a sex offender for life.
Smith’s attorney, Kris Poppe, said his client plans to appeal the verdict.
As Smith was escorted from the courtroom Monday, he turned to two women in the gallery who appeared to be there on his behalf and said, “I didn’t do it.”
“I know you didn’t baby,” one of the women said. “He didn’t do that. I don’t care what nobody says. He didn’t do it.”
According to the child’s autopsy report, the cause of death was pneumonia in the setting of malnutrition, neglect and sexual abuse. She weighed just 28 pounds at the time of her death, and her body and genitals were riddled with lacerations and contusions, the report said.
Bennett-Smith’s sentencing came some 30 minutes after her husband’s.
Her defense attorney, Antonio Gerald, called Jourdin’s death a tragedy.
Gerald said that Bennett-Smith accepted responsibility for her role in Jourdin’s death and “agreed to testify and assist in any way to help bring justice for Jourdin.”
Bennett-Smith did not speak during the hearing but cried as she was sentenced to a minimum term 10 years, five months, and a maximum of 13 years, six months for the second-degree murder charge.
The judge declined Gerald’s request for a consolidated sentence and instead stacked the sentence for the other charges.
For the child abuse and sexual assault charges, she received a consecutive minimum sentence of four years, four months, and a maximum of more than 10 years in prison. She will be required to register as a sex offender for 30 years after release.
The judge also recommended a psychological evaluation for Bennett-Smith.
Gerald said that the court heard during her testimony at Smith’s trial that she was also a victim of assault as a child.
“These are not excuses for her actions of what she has pled guilty to, but only to shed some light as to what may have led her to be in this courtroom today,” he said.