Attorneys are selecting jurors in a human trafficking trial for a Los Angeles man.
Jury selection began Friday before Judge Von Deroian in Santa Barbara County Superior Court. Senior Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Karapetian said selection is expected to be finished by this Friday.
David Johnson, 34, was first charged with human trafficking on July 6, 2017. On March 19, 2018 a judge held him to answer on charges of human trafficking, pimping and pandering, with enhancements for causing great bodily injury to a woman.
According to the prosecution’s trial brief, on June 29, 2017 two women were arrested in the 100 block of Anapamu Street during a vice sting conducted by the Santa Barbara Police Department.
One woman, identified as Victim 1 in court documents, claimed her partner Victim 2 was a prostitute and both women had been physically abused by Mr. Johnson.
During an interview with detectives, Victim 1 claimed she began dating Mr. Johnson in January 2017. Soon after he began physically abusing her and she claimed she reported a domestic battery to the Los Angeles Police Department.
Victim 1 said Mr. Johnson took her to Los Vegas where he met Victim 2. She claimed Mr. Johnson beat Victim 2 during a trip to Las Vegas and she noticed Victim 2 gave money to Mr. Johnson frequently.
She explained that the women came to Santa Barbara to escape Mr. Johnson.
In a separate interview with police, Victim 2 claimed she moved from Tacoma, Washington to Miami, Florida when she turned 18 to go to school. She met Mr. Johnson while working as a dancer at a nightclub.
Victim 2 claimed Mr. Johnson convinced her to come with him to Los Angeles. She added that he eventually convinced her to work as a prostitute and took her to Provo, Utah where she performed sex work sometime between May and June 2016.
Victim 2 claimed Mr. Johnson punched her around five times in the head and body her during a trip to Las Vegas because she pawned a piece of his jewelry. She claimed the attack left her with black eyes and bruising.
During another trip to Utah, Victim 2 claimed she was arrested while trying to obtain narcotic cough syrup for Mr. Johnson.
She claimed she visited Anaheim, Ventura and Santa Barbara to perform sex work for Mr. Johnson. During one of their trips to Santa Barbara, Mr. Johnson allegedly beat Victim 2 so badly she needed medical attention including stitches over her eye and a glued clitoris. Medical records from Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital confirm the injuries.
Victim 2 claimed Mr. Johnson threatened to kill her parents in Washington when they attempted to take her in after her release from jail in Utah.
Victim 2’s father told investigators she stayed with him in Washington for a week, then went back to Los Angeles. Mr. Johnson knew their home address because he had taken Victim 2’s Washington identification, she claimed.
On July 3, 2017, officers searched Mr. Johnson’s Los Angeles home where they found more than $2,000 in cash and a number of cellphones and tablets.
SBPD detectives interviewed Mr. Johnson, and shortly after the interview, prosecutors say he contacted the victims and attacked them for going to the police.
The defendant is being held at County Jail without bail.