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Press Release

Fourth Circuit Affirms Life Sentence of West Virginia Sex Trafficker

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia
Kendall Wysinger Was Convicted of Operating a Commercial Sex Trafficking Operation in 2019

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed the life sentence for a West Virginia man convicted in the Western District of Virginia for commercial sex trafficking.

Kendall Demarko Wysinger, 46, from Manassas, Virginia, was convicted by a jury in January 2019 of sex trafficking and various drug crimes in Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland. In August 2020, Wysinger was sentenced to life in prison.

Last week, a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond affirmed that sentence.

According to evidence presented at trial, Wysinger used heroin to coerce his victims into engaging in commercial sex and employed threats and intimidation to ensure he maintained power and control over those victims. Wysinger routinely advertised these victims for commercial sex using online classified ads in Winchester, Virginia, Shenandoah County, Virginia, and cities in West Virginia and Maryland, and used social media accounts to target and recruit women into his sex-trafficking operation. The defendant demanded his victims pay him nearly all of the money they received from commercial sex in order to pay their drug debts, his charges for posting ads online, and the costs of transporting them to prostitution dates.

On one occasion, the heroin Wysinger distributed resulted in two overdoses. Wysinger gave what he said was heroin to one victim of his sex trafficking ring and her friend, but the substance was actually fentanyl, a far more powerful synthetic opioid. Both victims overdosed as a result of fentanyl poisoning, and one of them eventually died. Wysinger was with both victims when they overdosed and left the victims unconscious in a Winchester motel room. 

Assistant United States Attorneys Laura Taylor, Jennifer R. Bockhorst, and Rachel Swartz handled the appeal for the United States.

Updated April 4, 2023