Johnson sentenced to eight years

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Maurice Johnson, 25, who already is serving a six-year sentence in federal prison, on Monday received an eight-year sentence in an Ohio state prison after being convicted last month on a felonious assault charge.

Chief Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Flanagan said Johnson was a human trafficker who stabbed the customer of one of his prostitutes at a local motel in 2014. Johnson stabbed the victim during an argument about money and the facts of the case led to an investigation of Johnson and his role in human trafficking and his attempts to start similar operations in Pittsburgh and Anaheim, Calif.

Judge Frank Fregiato reviewed both the details of this case and Johnsonás prior record.

âThe evidence was clear. The report is clear,ã Fregiato said. âThere was a stabbing. … One of the witnesses stated that Johnson would supply her with drugs and he would keep all the money that she earned through prostitution.ã

Fregiato also referred to a witnessá statement indicating she feared Johnson retaliating against her family.

Johnson objected to Fregiato taking his prior record into account.

âI look at the whole picture,ã Fregiato said. âWhat we have here is a career criminal, no question about it. … This gentleman has decided he knows more about life, the judicial proceeding, than anyone, including the state, the court, and his own defense counsel.

âThis court is not only about a vicious felonious assault, but this court and this story is about enslaving women, which is quite clearly what the defendant was doing. The evidence is crystal clear. The evidence was absolutely overwhelming. The defendant asked that justice be given where justice is due. I intend to do that.ã

Johnsonás eight-year sentence will be consecutive to his current sentence, beginning after his current sentence is complete.

âBelmont County has just added a very long sentence to a human trafficker who was already serving a prison sentence from a federal court charge,ã Belmont County Prosecutor Dan Fry said. âHe uses women for prostitution while feeding them drugs to further his illicit business. Let me tell you, that business is now shut down.ã


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