An 18-year-old girl was indicted for murder after a 24-year-old man who allegedly bought her when she was 16 was shot dead during a robbery.
Zephania Trevino from Texas faces charges of capital murder alongside Jesse Martinez, 20, and Philip Junior Aguilera Baldenegro, 20, after Carlos Arajeni-Arriaza Morillo died in August 2019.
Even though she was not the one who pulled the trigger, Trevino – who claims she is a sex trafficking victim – is accused of being a part of the crime.
A Dallas County grand jury reduced the charges against Trevino from capital murder to murder and aggravated robbery.
The teen’s attorney, Ashkan Mahryari, called the jury’s decision ‘disappointing,’ the Dallas Morning News reported.
He said that he was still happy that the charge is murder, which has a minimum of 5 years, instead of capital murder, which is life behind bars.
But the lawyers for Baldenegro, the man who allegedly pulled the trigger, said that the trafficking claims are ‘absolute fiction’ created to get sympathy for the teenage girl.
They also claimed that Trevino was not a victim and allegedly helped to plan the robbery before running away when something wrong occurred.
Attorney David Finn claims the sex trafficking story is nothing more than a ‘diversion’ or ‘smokescreen.’
“I’ve been a state prosecutor. I’ve been a federal prosecutor. I’ve been a criminal trial judge. I prosecuted real sex trafficking cases, both state and federal,” Finn said.
“As a judge, we had domestic violence cases that had elements of coercion and trafficking. And this allegation by Zephi Trevino, or her mother … and her attorneys — who are very good attorneys, I know them well — it’s complete bullsh*t,” Finn continued.
“There is not one single shred of evidence that’s backed up in allegations of sex trafficking — not only as it relates to my client, but to anyone.”
Trevino gained support from celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Jamie Lee Curtis when news of the charges made headlines last year.
Curtis took to Instagram at that time and wrote: “How is it possible that a 16-year-old girl, a victim of sex trafficking and sexual violence who was an innocent bystander in a crime, could possibly be held accountable for that crime? That is the brutal truth happening to Zephi Trevino today.”
The petition to drop the charges against Trevino gained over 375,000 signatures.
Family and friends described her as a typical teenager in their community in Texas. However, her life took a dark turn when she became involved in unhealthy relationships.
Her lawyers argue she fell in the wrong crowd and was eventually groomed for prostitution.
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