Billings man sentenced to more than 26 years in prison for sex trafficking, firearms and prostitution-related crimes
BILLINGS — A Billings man convicted of multiple crimes stemming from a broad investigation into a sex trafficking network that involved nearly 20 victims, including minor girls, violence, drugs and the shooting death of a victim, was sentenced today to 26 years and 10 months in prison, to be followed by a lifetime of supervised release, U.S. Attorney Jesse Laslovich said.
The defendant, William Maurice Newkirk, 41, pleaded guilty in January to sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion, use of a facility in interstate commerce in aid of racketeering, possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking and transportation of person with intent to engage in prostitution.
U.S. District Judge Susan P. Watters presided. Judge Watters also set a restitution hearing for Sept. 9 and ordered a total of $10,200 in special assessments.
“For years, Newkirk ruthlessly wielded abuse, threats, violence and drugs to force women and girls to work in commercial sex, all so he could make money. Far too many victims suffered, including one who tragically died as a result of Newkirk’s reprehensible actions. Today’s sentence holds Newkirk accountable for his criminal conduct. My office will continue to aggressively fight sex trafficking occurring in our communities and to seek justice for victims,” U.S. Attorney Laslovich said.
“Newkirk preyed on vulnerable women and young girls, subjecting them to horrific abuse and other crimes for years, strictly for his own profit,” said Special Agent in Charge Dennis Rice of the Salt Lake City FBI. “This case should serve as an eye-opener that sex trafficking happens in our communities, but there is help and hope for victims as the FBI and our partners are committed to holding those who exploit them accountable.”
In court documents, the government alleged that Newkirk coerced, manipulated and violently trafficked multiple women, including minors, into commercial sex for nearly a decade and across multiple states. An investigation following a June 2019 fatal shooting of one of Newkirk’s victims, identified as Jane Doe 1, uncovered a network of individuals, including Newkirk, who were involved in violent and narcotic-related offenses. Newkirk used violence, threats and drugs to exploit almost 20 victims, some of whom were minor girls, into working in commercial sex for him.
The government further alleged that in early 2019, Newkirk and Jane Doe 1 became involved. Newkirk forced Jane Doe 1 to engage in commercial sex, verbally and physically abused her and took her to Wyoming, where he forced her to engage in commercial sex on her birthday.
In June 2019, the government alleged, Jane Doe 5 was a passenger along with two others in a car Newkirk was driving. Newkirk became upset with Jane Doe 5 and drove to Jane Doe 1’s residence, called Jane Doe 1 and told her to “come mop this bitch up,” referring to beating up Jane Doe 5. Upon arrival, Jane Doe 1, along with Newkirk and others, assaulted Jane Doe 5. In an effort to defend herself, Jane Doe 5 reached for a firearm. As Jane Doe 5 was being pulled out of the car, the firearm discharged and struck Jane Doe 1, who died from her injuries two days later. Law enforcement arrested Newkirk the day of the shooting. Investigators found cocaine residue on a digital scale in the car and the firearm used in the shooting near a co-defendant’s residence.
Victims told law enforcement that they observed Newkirk with a firearm and that he would provide them with cocaine.
All four co-defendants, Anthony Marcos Chadwell, Djavon Lamont King, Mario Juan Drake and Dejon Anthony Duncan pleaded guilty to charges and have been sentenced to various terms.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Zeno B. Baucus, Bryan T. Dake and Benjamin D. Hargrove prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Montana Division of Criminal Investigation and the Billings Police Department.