Human trafficking defendant appears in court


A 63-year-old Texarkana man charged in Bowie County with five counts of human trafficking and two counts of sexual assault of a child is scheduled to face a jury in June.

Kenneth Dewayne Nelson appeared Monday before 5th District Judge Bill Miller for a pretrial hearing. At the hearing, Assistant District Attorney Lauren Richards said she is preparing a motion to consolidate the cases and try them all together because the charges are connected. Miller scheduled the case for jury selection June 26.

Nelson is accused of giving five teen girls cash and drugs in exchange for sex, according to a probable cause affidavit. Staff at the Children’s Advocacy Center in Texarkana interviewed five girls during 2016 and 2017 regarding their experiences with Nelson. Victim number one told a CAC forensic interviewer in May 2016 that Nelson would pick her and other girls up in his car and drive them to a house on Lee Street in Texarkana, Ark., which Nelson had inherited from his mother. The girl said Nelson began by giving her a hat and a shirt but later gave her Xanax, marijuana or methamphetamine for sex on multiple dates beginning when she was 15 and continuing until she was 16.

A girl identified in affidavits as Victim number two was interviewed at CAC in October. She allegedly reported that Nelson began having sex with her when she was 16 in exchange for drugs and cash. The second alleged victim reported that she was often in the Lee Street house with other girls when Nelson would have sex with them.

A third girl, identified as Victim number three, told a CAC interviewer that she began having sex with Nelson in exchange for drugs and money in October 2014 when she 15. Like the other girls interviewed, the third victim reported that Nelson would often pick the girls up together and have sex with them at the Lee Street house.

The fourth girl, identified as Victim number four, told a CAC interviewer in September that she was 13 when Nelson first began providing her marijuana but that she refused to have sex with him until she was 14. The girl said Nelson would have sex with her and other girls at the house on Lee Street or in his car.

A fifth girl related a similar account when interviewed at the CAC in August. She reported having sex with Nelson from the time she was 14 until she was 17. Two other girls reported having sex with Nelson as well.

Each of the five counts of continuous trafficking of persons is punishable by 25 to 99 years or life in prison. Each of the two counts of child sexual assault are punishable by two to 20 years in prison.

Nelson’s bail on each of the trafficking charges is set at $250,000 cash. He is currently being held in the Bowie County jail. Miller scheduled the case for another pretrial hearing in March.

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