A Tacoma man convicted of coercing women and girls to work for him as prostitutes was sentenced Thursday to 23 years in federal prison.
A jury last year convicted Alexander Walls, 27, of conspiracy to transport a juvenile for prostitution, interstate transportation of a child for prostitution, witness tampering, conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion and three counts of sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion.
Prosecutors said Walls and another man, Reginald Irvin, recruited woman and girls to sell sex in Pierce and King counties, often advertising their services on Backpage.com and Craigslist.
Irvin pleaded guilty last year and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Walls assaulted the girls and women if they didn’t follow his rules and demanded they pay him up to $1,500 before they could leave his control, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle reported.
Federal prosecutors Ye-Ting Woo and Bruce Miyake wrote in a sentencing memorandum that Walls “is a predator with no respect or regard for the law.”
“His treatment of people in general, and women specifically, is egregious and despicable,” the prosecutors said. “He poses a significant threat to the physical and emotional safety of all persons with whom he has contact.”
They asked for 26 years in prison.
Walls’ attorney, Michael Schwartz, wrote in a sentencing memorandum that his client endured a horrific childhood, growing up poor in a gang-infested neighborhood with an abusive mother and absent father.
“Physical violence, especially toward Mr. Walls, as well as searing verbal abuse was the norm in his house,” Schwartz wrote. “This information does not excuse Mr. Walls’ crimes. But this court should acknowledge that Mr. Walls’ lifestyle and criminal acts were formed by elements over which he had no control.”
Schwartz asked for a sentence of 15 years.
U.S. District Court Judge Robert Bryan agreed with prosecutors that Walls has shown “a lack of respect for the law.”
“He gives no indication that he will not continue the lifestyle that he has adopted,” Bryan said before handing down the sentence.