OAKLAND (CBS SF) — An ex-convict was found guilty Tuesday of human trafficking of a minor and rape, sodomy, kidnapping, torture and assault with a deadly weapon for sexually assaulting three young women in Oakland last year.
Prosecutor Sabrina Farrell cried in the hallway after the verdict, saying the three young women “went through a lot” when albert Rich abused them both
physically and sexually.
“This is one of the most horrendous cases in recent Alameda County history,” Farrell said.
Rich, a 6 foot 6 inch, 235-pound man who was guarded by six bailiffs, looked straight ahead and showed no emotion while a court clerk took about 20 minutes to read the 13 felony counts and multiple enhancement clauses for which he was convicted after one day of jury deliberations.
He faces a term of life in state prison when Alameda County Superior Court Judge Trina Thompson sentences him on June 29.
Farrell said Rich burned one of the young women with a flatiron hair-styling device and then sodomized her with a deodorant spray can, causing her to bleed for 12 hours.READ MORE: Armed Guards, Volunteers Join Police to Patrol Streets in Oakland's Chinatown
Rich’s defense attorney Ernie Castillo told jurors during the trial that the three young women weren’t credible witnesses.
“Each of these girls did prostitution on their own and made their own decisions to work with Mr. Rich,” Castillo said.
Castillo admitted that Rich, who has previously been convicted of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, false imprisonment and illegal gun possession, is a pimp but said “he’s not a human trafficker” and “he didn’t force them into the prostitution life.”
A second defendant, Sasha Coleman, 28, stood trial with Rich on charges of human trafficking and pimping for allegedly helping him with his human trafficking scheme but the prosecution dismissed the charges against her during the trial.MORE NEWS: Royals Week: Rare Archival Footage Of Princess Margaret's 1965 SF Visit Unearthed
A third defendant, Khalilah Barker, 23, was also scheduled to stand trial for allegedly helping Rich, but on March 29 she pleaded no contest to three counts of human trafficking and two counts of pimping in a deal with prosecutors that calls for her to get a light prison sentence in return for her testimony against Rich.