Three men, two of them pimps, were sentenced today to lengthy state prison terms for kidnapping and torturing a woman in Oakland three years ago after she said she didn’t want to work for them as a prostitute.
The woman, who is 20 now but was only 17 at the time, testified during the trial for the three men that she began working as a prostitute after she ran away from home at the age of 15 and knew the men accused of attacking her but didn’t want to work for them.
The woman said she had a sexual relationship with one of the men, 24-year-old Jason Beasley, but on June 3, 2013, Beasley, 30-year-old Paul Booker and 27-year-old Ruben Mitchell kidnapped her after she told Beasley that she didn’t want to go out of town with him to work for him as a prostitute.
In September an Alameda County Superior Court jury found Booker, Beasley and Mitchell guilty of kidnapping to commit a sex crime, torture, assault with a firearm, assault with a deadly weapon, attempted pandering and attempted human trafficking. Booker, who was convicted of second-degree murder last year in an unrelated case, and Mitchell were also convicted of rape by a foreign object but all three men were found not guilty of forcible rape by acting in concert.
The woman testified that Booker and Beasley were known pimps and prosecutor Neil Layton said Mitchell was a close associate of Beasley. Judge C. Don Clay sentenced Mitchell to 45 years to life and Beasley to 16 years to life. Clay sentenced Booker to 110 years to life for the kidnapping and torture case but also said he must serve it consecutively to the 62 years to life term he’s already been serving for his murder conviction.
That means his total term for both cases is 172 years to life. Clay, who presided over both of Booker’s trials, told him, “I’ve seen you in two trials and I know you’re smart because I’ve seen the discussions you’ve had with your attorneys so I don’t know how in the world we lost you.” The judge told Booker that he understands that he’s had a difficult life but he said, “For God’s sake, this (the attack on the woman) shouldn’t have happened.” The woman, who had been living on a friend’s couch while she earned her living in the commercial sex trade, testified that the men drove her to Booker’s apartment in East Oakland, where she said Booker struck her with a gun seven times and then cut her on the breasts, legs and stomach with a knife after she was bound with duct tape.
The woman said she was bleeding profusely and lapsed in and out of consciousness but remembers one of the men sexually assaulting her. She said she bled so much that eventually she was able to free her arms from the duct tape, jump out of a window and run naked out onto a nearby street, where she first hid underneath a car and then asked the car’s owner to call police.
After police arrived, she was taken to a hospital to be treated for her injuries, which included multiple contusions and stabbing wounds. Booker was convicted of second-degree murder last year for fatally shooting 37-year-old Steven Cotton of Oakland in the 2300 block of 88th Avenue at about 2:30 p.m. on July 9, 2013, about a month after the woman was allegedly kidnapped. Booker was originally arrested and charged for the kidnapping and torture of the woman.
While he was in custody, Oakland police developed information that he was responsible for Cotton’s death. He wasn’t charged with murder in that case until January 2014.
Booker also has four additional previous felony convictions dating back to 2006: one each for carjacking and possession of a firearm by a felon and two for possession of a controlled substance. Prosecutors say Mitchell has four previous convictions for grand theft, transportation of marijuana for sales, possession of a controlled substance with a prior conviction and being an accessory after the fact.
After Mitchell was sentenced today, he said, “I feel like I had an unfair trial because I didn’t participate in these crimes and the victim didn’t identify me.” Mitchell told Clay, “You had it wrong” and said, “My attorney didn’t do her job.” Clay said he gave a shorter sentence to Beasley because he’s the only one of the three defendants who expressed remorse.
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