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Man gets 20 years in prison

Profile image for By Jenna Duncan and Megan Gray / Staff Writers
By Jenna Duncan and Megan Gray / Staff Writers

Jacobs pleads guilty to human trafficking, sexual assault of child

A 30-year-old man received a 20-year sentence after pleading guilty in Denton County to human trafficking and sexual assault of a child.

William Jacobs pleaded guilty to two charges of sexual assault of a child and one charge of trafficking of persons younger than 18 on Friday.

His three 20-year sentences will be served concurrently.

According to court documents, Jacobs and a woman convinced a minor to join them at a Lewisville hotel on or about July 7, 2012, and then brought her to Amarillo and out of state to have sex with about 30 men for money.

Shayla Williams, 20 — the co-defendant in the case — is also charged with assaulting the then-14-year-old that night, as well as two counts of indecency with a child — sexual contact, and one count of trafficking of persons younger than 18. She is expected to either reach a plea agreement or go to trial within the next month, said Jamie Beck, first assistant district attorney.

Jacobs’ case was scheduled to begin trial this week after his arrest Aug. 31, 2012. His attorney, Tim Powers, said he was assigned to the case the following month and put more than 150 hours of work into preparation of the case.

“The role of a defense attorney is to zealously represent their client and get the best possible result through the prism of the facts and the evidence the DA would be able to present in court,” Powers said. “In this particular case, had we taken the route of a jury trial, it was my estimation that Mr. Jacobs would have served the rest of his life in prison. Thus for him, this was an excellent result.”

The victim allegedly began talking to Williams online in July 2012, and Williams picked her up from the victim’s mother’s home in Allen, according to investigators’ affidavits.

Williams, Jacobs and the victim stayed at a hotel in Lewisville that night, where Jacobs assaulted the girl, according to court records.

They also photographed the girl and posted those pictures online to solicit people to have sex with her for money, according to the affidavits.

On July 30, 2012, Lewisville police located the victim alone at a Lewisville hotel after a missing person report had been issued by the Allen Police Department, according to court records.

The case was filed by a federal agency — the North Texas Trafficking Task Force — under Homeland Security Investigations, and Beck said the Denton County District Attorney’s Office was happy to accept it.

“Our office was more than willing to accept these cases from the federal North Texas Trafficking Task Force,” Beck said. “The task force was very pleased with this result [20-year sentence], as were we. Shortly after sentencing, we received an e-mail from a task force member praising our assistant DA, Michael Dickens, and our office for working so diligently on the case.”

The two suspects were arrested in an Arlington hotel parking lot on Aug. 31, 2012, and both confessed during separate interviews with police, according to investigators’ affidavits.

JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.

MEGAN GRAY can be reached at 940-566-6885 and via Twitter at @MGrayNews.