- post by: #TooRealForTV
- March 24, 2017
A father and 2 sons in Chicago given prison for sex trafficking underage girls.
Like most American teens, Chicago-area twin brothers Tyrelle and Myrelle Lockett hung out a lot at the mall.
But they weren’t there to gossip with friends or have a soft pretzel and a smoothie. Federal prosecutors say the Lockett brothers were sent to shopping centers by their father, Nathan Nicholson, to lure vulnerable young girls into the family’s lucrative sex trafficking business.
Once they took the bait, the underage victims were brought to an abandoned house in the south suburbs for a photo shoot in swimsuits and slinky dresses and coerced into having their “skills tested” by having sex with the twins, according to court records.
Before they knew it, the girls were being pimped in online sites, meeting clients for sex in hotel rooms and private homes at rates of $100 or more an hour. They gave almost all of the money they earned to the Lockett brothers and their dad, and were slapped, choked and even threatened with death if they tried to escape, according to federal prosecutors.
The father-and-sons team of pimps all faced sentencing this week in Chicago’s federal court, where Nicholson and both of his sons pleaded guilty last year to one count each of sex trafficking of a minor.
At the final sentencing hearing Thursday, U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow gave Myrelle Lockett 17 1/2 years in prison, the same sentence she’d handed to his brother a day earlier. Nicholson was sentenced on Tuesday to a 16 1/2-year term.
In asking for at least three decades in prison for each brother, prosecutors outlined a staggering level of depravity that allegedly began when the twins were 16 and continued even after they were convicted of sex trafficking in Cook County in 2011.
In addition to trolling for girls at malls in Chicago and northwest Indiana, the brothers solicited victims over social media, posting photos in Facebook profiles holding bottles of liquor and bags of marijuana, waving handguns and fanning themselves with wads of cash.
Both twins had tattooed themselves with the letters “MOB,” which stood for their business motto, “Money Over Broads,” according to prosecutors.
To try to bolster the sentences, prosecutors brought several of the victims to testify before Lefkow in October, when they told the court about the lasting impact the family’s actions had on their lives, from ongoing drug addiction to being relegated to a life on the streets with limited options beyond the sex trade, records show.
“Men like Tyrelle and Myrelle need to be locked away,” one teen wrote in a statement to the court. “Cause weather (sic) they see it or not, the girls and women they put through this suffer greatly. They have made my life hell and I would not wish this pain I’m going through on my worst enemy.”
Although Lefkow found that prosecutors had proved that the abuse of the other girls occurred, the judge sided with probation officials who recommended less harsh prison terms. Still, the judge acknowledged the conduct was egregious and the girls will suffer from consequences of their abuse “for the rest of their lives.”
“People don’t get over it, they only do their best to get past it,” Lefkow said in sentencing Myrelle on Thursday.
Going on ‘dates’
Nicholson was born in Chicago and lived in the violence- and drug-torn ABLA Homes housing project on the city’s West Side, his lawyer, Paul Flynn, wrote in a recent court filing. Physically abused by his mother at a young age, Nicholson frequently witnessed shootings and other violence and viewed prostitution not “as a choice, but more so a legitimate way of life,” his lawyer said.
A few years after his twin boys were born in 1992, Nicholson was convicted of drug charges and sent to prison. When he was released in 1999, he found work at a glass factory and earned enough money to buy a home in Calumet City, where his boys lived part time with him.
In 2008, Nicholson was blindsided when he found out his longtime girlfriend had infected him with HIV, according to his lawyer’s filing. Feeling like it was a “death sentence,” Nicholson sank into depression and lost his job.
The following year, when the twins were 16, Nicholson began using them to sow the seeds of his sex-trafficking business, prosecutors alleged. Knowing he couldn’t approach teenage girls himself without scaring them off, he sent Tyrelle and Myrelle to an undisclosed mall to find girls who “would be more willing to talk to and engage with boys their own age,” prosecutors wrote in their sentencing filing for Nicholson earlier this month.
At the mall, the twins promised girls they could make money by going on “dates” with rich men. One victim the boys talked to, identified by her initials “SG,” who was 17 at the time, told her 16-year-old friend about the overture, and all four agreed to meet, prosecutors said.
A short time later, Nicholson and Tyrelle picked up the girls and drove them to what he described as a “photo shoot” at an abandoned home in Calumet City that had no electricity. In the basement, Nicholson told the girls to “loosen up and be sexy,” prosecutors said. He took provocative photos of them — which were later used in sex ads — and told the girls that “their skills had to be ‘tested’ by having sex with Tyrelle and Myrelle.”
Both girls then began to work for Nicholson and his sons as sex slaves, according to prosecutors. The younger girl, identified by her initials “AL,” continued to have sex for money even after becoming pregnant and again after she gave birth, prosecutors said.
To advertise the girls, Nicholson used Backpage as well as his own website, according to court filings. He drove them to appointments and “agreed to pick up SG from dates by a certain time so (she) could make it to school on time,” prosecutors said.
In December 2012, Nicholson was arrested after AL met for sex with a client who turned out to be an undercover officer conducting a sting. Nicholson, who had driven the girl to the hotel and was waiting outside in a car, was charged with promoting prostitution. He admitted he’d posted the ad for AL on Backpage.com and was given 30 months of probation — a sentence he was still serving when he was arrested on the federal charges in 2014, records show.
At the time of their father’s arrest, both Tyrelle and Myrelle had already served time for sex trafficking convictions in Cook County, records show.
In 2010, when they were 17, they were charged with forcing teenage girls to have sex with strangers and beating at least one girl who wouldn’t go along. Tyrelle Lockett was arrested in that case outside a south suburban hotel where undercover sheriff’s vice officers had arranged to meet one of the teenage victims after answering an online ad, authorities said.
Both twins pleaded guilty and were sentenced to four years in prison but wound up serving only a fraction of that time by completing a boot camp program, records show.
Federal prosecutors said that as soon as the twins were released, they went right back to pimping. In online chats with one potential victim, Tyrelle, using the alias “Rico Finally Paid,” asked if the girl had ever “done any escorting,” court records show.
“Escorting what?” the 16-year-old girl replied.
“Adult service were you have sex with older men but everything is safe and protected,” Tyrelle wrote back, according to court records. “im looking for a girl who down in ready to get this easy as money.”
Victims who were recruited by the brothers told authorities they worked long hours and sometimes were forced to have sex with as many as five strangers a day, according to prosecutors. Some had tattoos with the twins’ names on their necks marking them as property of the Locketts, prosecutors said.
According to the charges, the twins instructed the girls on how to interact with clients, gave them false names and fake IDs, bought hair extensions, manicures, clothing and food for them, and kept all of the money they earned.
Much of the trafficking took place in the Chicago area, but the Locketts also took their victims out of town for dates — including a week in Arizona and several days in Houston for the 2013 NBA All Star Game, described by Assistant U.S. Attorney Renai Rodney on Thursday as “a sex-trafficker’s dream.”
In July 2013, the twins met an 18-year-old victim from Minnesota, identified in court records as “KG,” in an online chat room and tried to persuade her to come with them to Chicago to be a part of their escort service, prosecutors alleged. After she refused, the Lockett brothers kidnapped her and drove her to Illinois anyway, with Myrelle telling her “You are my bitch” and threatening her if she tried to leave, according to prosecutors.
After being held for a few days at an apartment on Chicago’s South Side, the young woman sneaked out the back door late one night, prosecutors said. She unscrewed the bulb of a motion-sensor security light, climbed on a garbage can and scaled a fence surrounding the property. She called 911 before making her way to a police station and reporting she’d been abducted.
Myrelle Lockett was arrested that morning when police pulled him over in a silver Chrysler sedan that matched the description given by the victim, records show.
“That’s beyond any acceptable behavior,” Lefkow said in sentencing Myrelle on Thursday. “Here she is in the middle of the night in a city she doesn’t know, just trying to get away.”
A childhood cut short
Lawyers for all three had asked Lefkow for the mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.
Nicholson’s attorney wrote in his memo that the father’s involvement in the sex ring was limited to advertise the victims’ services online. Nicholson viewed himself as being “helpful to the women, providing safety and protection, and simply there to assist them as needed while they handled their business as they saw fit,” wrote attorney Paul Flynn.
But the brothers sought to pin much of the blame on their father. In his sentencing memo, Tyrelle’s lawyer, James Graham, wrote that Tyrelle had been taught a “warped logic” from a very young age that sex was a commodity and to view “some girls and women as ready and happy to become prostitutes.”
“His father was a pimp,” Graham wrote. “His mother placed no roadblocks on his career path. Their father was allowed to take them, Tyrelle and his brother, unsupervised, and expose them to a life that gave them a seedy, disrespectful outlook towards women, at God knows what age.”
In court Thursday, Myrelle Lockett shuffled to the lectern dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit and read a lengthy apology to the court and his victims. He said his own childhood was cut short when he became a father at 14. Now with two sons, ages 9 and 6, he said he’s finally beginning to understand what it means to be a father.
Myrelle said his parents were “not the positive role models they should’ve been” but also that he couldn’t blame them “100 percent” for all of his wrongdoing.
“I just wish that my parents had raised me and my brother the right way,” he said.