Woman accused in teen prostitution case set for January jury trial

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A Tennessee woman accused of transporting a teen girl to Texarkana to engage in prostitution was scheduled for a January jury trial Tuesday by a Miller County Circuit Judge.

Ashley Elizabeth Hatfield, 27, faces six to 30 years in prison if found guilty of transporting a minor for prohibited sexual conduct. At a court appearance Tuesday, Miller County Circuit Judge Kirk Johnson scheduled Hatfield to return to court for a pretrial hearing next month. Johnson scheduled a final pretrial hearing for early January and set jury selection for Jan. 25.

Hatfield is currently in Miller County custody. Bail is set at $250,000.

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According to court records, Hatfield was “influential” in getting the teen from Tennessee to Texarkana. Both Hatfield and the girl were allegedly using a website, backpage.com, to solicit. An investigator from the Memphis, Tenn. Police Department contacted the Texarkana, Ark., Police Department Aug. 21 concerning the Tennessee teen.

Investigators believe Hatfield was “very influential” in getting the teen to leave Memphis.

Texarkana, Ark., police determined Hatfield was staying with a friend, suspected to be the Memphis runaway, at the Quality Inn on State Line Avenue in Texarkana, Ark. TAPD investigators watched the hotel room Hatfield had rented until they observed Hatfield, the girl and two men leave in a small car with Tennessee license plates.

Officers pulled the car over on State Line Avenue and arrested Hatfield. The girl was turned over to child welfare officials. Neither of the two men in the car were charged with a criminal offense at the time of the traffic stop.

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