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UPDATE: Man Facing Prostitution Charges Arrested Again in Marietta

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UPDATE 9/15/2014 5:25 PM

First arrested on drug and prostitution charges, police say he gave them a fake name.

He was out on bail, but now, James Walker is arrested again.

Officers say they were talking with him on the street and he tried to run.

The Marietta Police Department arrested James Walker for obstructing official business.

Police say they saw a woman walking up Third Street who was crying.

They say the man responsible was following her.

"The officer was speaking to him, asked him his name which he provided. As he asked Mr. Walker what the problem was with the female, Mr. Walker took off running south between Third Street and Fourth," says Marietta Police Captain Jeff Waite.

When officers caught up to him, he was at a local attorney's office on Third Street sitting in a chair.

Previously, Walker posted his $75,000 bail with charges of drug possession and promoting prostitution.

He posted bail this time, too.

The judge previously dismissed the human trafficking charges.

Captain Waite says this arrest could possibly get his bond revoked.


UPDATE 8/19/2014 10:25 AM

A preliminary hearing for a man and woman accused of running a prostitution ring, with a lower bond set and charges dropped.

A Washington County judge ruled probable cause was found on drug and prostitution charges against 37-year-old James Walker.

The hearing was originally scheduled for last week but got continued to Monday.

Walker originally told police his name was Xavier Freeman when he was arrested two weeks ago near a Marietta motel.

Now detectives say they are confident his real name is James Walker.

Prosecutors say Walker used force, fear and intimidation to force the women into prostitution.

Meanwhile, the defense says there's no evidence of human trafficking.

"To keep an alias like that and to keep that sort of fake identity is because you know you're engaged in criminal activity," says Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Rings.

"The state did not produce sufficient evidence on any kind of compelling, having any of the prostitutes come in and testify or anything like that," says Ray Smith, Washington County Public Defender.

Walker's bond is set at $75,000, with charges of drug possession and promoting prostitution.

The judge dismisses the human trafficking.

His accused co-conspirator, Shaasia Jones also appeared in court, charged with promoting prostitution.

Her bond is set at $10,000.

The case now goes to a grand jury, where charges could be revisited.


UPDATE 8/18/2014 5:45 PM

It's a high profile case with ties to New York.

After requesting an attorney, the man detectives say runs a prostitution ring faced a judge Monday again.

Earlier this month police arrested a man calling himself Xavier Freeman for prostitution and human trafficking charges.

Last week police determined his real name is James Walker.

Investigators say Walker was a pimp working in Ohio and West Virginia.

Monday detectives took the stand, making their case against Walker in a preliminary hearing, using information found on cell phones, an iPad and a fake ID.

Court remained in session late Monday afternoon.


UPDATE 8/14/2014 4:40 PM

The man tied to a human trafficking prostitution case faces a Washington County judge.

This case isn't close to being over.

Really it's just beginning.

The first step was figuring out who the main defendant really is.

He first told police he was Xavier Freeman.

Authorities now say his name is James Walker.

A very realistic looking ID he showed the police now turns out to be fake.

In court for the first time Thursday morning, he requested an attorney, postponing the rest of the preliminary hearing.

"We identified him through their facial recognition program, the state of Pennsylvania. And looking at the pictures and some of the other characteristics about Mr. Walker's face. Fairly confident, still waiting on the fingerprint information from the FBI to confirm," says Detective Ryan Huffman, with the Marietta Police Department.

Investigators say Walker used the fake ID because it comes back with a clean record.

Under his real name they say he has a long criminal history but had no active warrant for his arrest.

As for his counterpart, she was not given bond and remains in jail.

The next hearing is set for Monday at 2:30.


UPDATE 8/14/2014 11:30 AM

Washington County authorities determine the identity of a man arrested on human trafficking and prostitution charges.

They say his name is James Walker.

When he was arrested in Marietta, he said his name was Xavier Freeman.

Walker is charged with possession of a schedule II controlled substance, compelling prostitution and promoting prostitution, as well as human trafficking.

Police say he forced women to to sleep with men for money and he got at least half that money.

They also accuse him of keeping the women addicted to drugs.

A hearing for Walker originally scheduled for Thursday morning was pushed to Monday.


UPDATE 8/11/2014 4:40 PM

A major prostitution ring busted in Marietta.

Police are still working to determine the true identity of the man they say is the leader.

The man claiming to be Xavier Freeman remains in the Washington County Jail while the sheriff's department works to determine who he really is.

The social security number he gave to police actually belongs to a woman in jail on drug charges.

Even his fingerprints aren't in the database, and now the FBI is stepping in to determine who this man is.

"We are now in the process of checking his DNA as we speak. I talked to the head of the BCI and we sent a DNA sample up to their lab and they're working to see if they can identify him," says Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks.

Sheriff Mincks adds that human trafficking could easily be something on the rise in the area and the major crimes task force will be investigating, as well as the drug issue across the Valley.


UPDATE 8/9/2014 6:00 PM

The Washington Co. Sheriff's Office says they still haven't identified the man calling himself "Xavier Freeman"

Freeman is accused of forcing six women to sleep with men for money. Investigators say the pimp got at least half of that money.

Freeman was arrested Thursday in Marietta, but investigators say they still can't find his birth certificate, driver's license or any valid form of documentation.

"Part of the problem is he is not cooperating with us. He gave us a social security number which belonged to a girl who is incarcerated in New Jersey. And he won't tell us where he was born or parents so it's hard to establish his identity," said Sheriff Larry Mincks.

Sheriff Mincks says Freeman will stay in the Washington Co. Jail until he can be identified.

UPDATE 8/8/2014 3:50 PM

Washington County investigators take down what they're calling a prostitution ring operating out of Marietta.

But this case involves much more than prostitution.

One man charged with human trafficking, multiple female victims and authorities say the investigation is just beginning.

It all started when a confidential informant led police to a hotel on Pike Street in Marietta.

Police say a man and seven women left the hotel in a car and they were pulled over for a traffic violation.

The man in the car identified himself as Xavier Freeman, but police say they don't think this is his real name.

He had a New York ID and said he was from Bluefield, West Virginia.

Police say he had nearly $7,000 in cash and 181 Hydromorphone pills.

They say Freeman is a pimp and six of the seven women with him are prostitutes.

Police say the women were forced to sleep with men for money and Freeman got at least half that money.

Police say he's been in our area 11 or 12 days, moving from one hotel to the next on both sides of the river.

He is charged with possession of a schedule II controlled substance, compelling prostitution and promoting prostitution.

He is also charged with human trafficking - the first time anyone has been charged with that in Washington County.

Four of the women were also arrested.

Police say Shaasia Jones was helping Freeman in this ring and she is charged with complicity.

Tamisha Lowe and Tiffany Pendergrass are charged with obstructing official business.

Reba Grahovac is charged with possession of drug abuse instruments.

Police say some of the women with drug dependency issues relied on Freeman for pills so they wouldn't get sick.

"There's been some violence with firearms, beatings, we discovered in speaking with some of the individuals. So we believe that they're probably scared for their lives. Right now, basically the investigation has just started. There's a lot of work to be done to basically find more of the victims," says Det. Ryan Huffman, with the Marietta Police Department.

Police say they're working with federal human trafficking task force agents to make this a federal case.

Police say the women who were with the man claiming to be Xavier Freeman are from all over the U.S., and they say other places he works include Charleston, West Virginia and Roanoke, Virginia.


Washington County authorities say a confidential informant led them to a hotel on Pike Street in Marietta.

There, police say they saw a man and multiple women get into a car.

Police say they stopped the car for a traffic violation.

They say the man in the car, claiming to be Xavier Freeman, had nearly $7,000 cash and Hydromorphone pills in his pants.

During the investigation police say they learned Freeman is a pimp and the multiple women with him were his prostitutes.

Police say he took the women to Parkersburg and Marietta, where they were forced to sleep with men for money.

They say Freeman then got at least half that money.

Freeman is charged with human trafficking, possession of drugs, compelling prostitution and promoting prostitution.

Four of the women were also arrested.


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