636289995229169647-Jamal-Russ

Milwaukee judge gives pimp 15 years, tells him he treated women as ‘slaves’

Jamal Russ treated women like tissues he could use, crumple up and throw away, a Milwaukee County judge said.

You treated them as if they were slaves,” Judge Joseph Donald said Friday. “They were just tools and objects for you.”

 

Russ, 30, will spend the next 15 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to two counts human trafficking and one count of witness intimidation.

 

One of his victims made a brief statement in court, saying, in part: “With this man, I have been through nothing but hell.”

 

Dozens of people packed the courtroom to support the victim, including members of the Human Trafficking Task Force of Greater Milwaukee. The jury box also was full with a visiting Mexican delegation that came to Milwaukee to learn about how the criminal justice system here addresses domestic violence and other crimes against women.

 

Prosecutor Jennifer Williams said the case first came to the district attorney’s office as a misdemeanor domestic violence battery charge after a severely beaten woman showed up at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare-St. Joseph hospital.

 

Another prosecutor and an experienced victim advocate noted signs of sex trafficking in the police reports. The injured woman told police Russ punched her and whipped her with his “bottom (expletive)’s belt”  because he was angry she had the flu and left a knife with jelly in a peanut butter jar.

The term “bottom” refers to a pimp’s trusted female lieutenant, often a woman who’s been with him the longest, who recruits, trains and supervises other women who are prostituted

 

The prosecutor, advocate and police detectives went back to the victim, who said soon after she met Russ, he began setting up online prostitution ads with her and another woman. He threatened to beat her and other women if they didn’t give him the money from the prostitution “dates.”

 

In November 2015, the woman said, another girl who had just turned 18 moved into Russ’ house in the 8600 block of W. Melvina St. The girl quickly became involved in the trafficking ring, the woman said.

 

In April, Russ was charged with another count of human trafficking. That victim told police Russ took advantage of the fact that she was in love with him. Russ was later charged with intimidating the two women from jail and was cut off from visits, calls or mail privileges.

 

Williams, the prosecutor, said Russ made the jail calls even though he was warned beforehand it would be recorded.

“He almost has no shame,” she said.

 

Russ apologized to his victims and his family. He said he had changed, felt remorse and took responsibility.

“I feel like the lifestyle I chose got out of hand,” he said.

Donald sentenced him to 15 years of initial confinement in prison for each trafficking count and five years for the intimidation charge and ordered the sentences to run concurrently, or served at the same time. Upon his release, he will be on extended supervision for another decade.

Russ already was a registered sex offender stemming from a second-degree sexual assault conviction for raping a 14-year-old girl in 2006 with another man.

 

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