BILLINGS -- After deliberating through the night, the jury determined Wednesday that the man accused of trafficking women and girls in Montana is a pimp who forced his victims to sell their bodies for his own personal gain.
Terrance Edwards, 35, was found guilty at trial in U.S. District Court in Billings of all charges against him related to prostitution.
Edwards’ co-defendant, Francine Joann Granados, was also found guilty of tampering with a witness.
Jurors were sent to deliberate late Tuesday afternoon and returned Wednesday with a verdict.
Edwards took the stand Monday to assert his innocence, claiming he operated a legal escort service and was unaware that the women he employed were having sex for money.
Edwards testified that he picked up three teenage girls in North Dakota and brought them back to Billings with the intent to sell handbags he’d designed while serving prison time for a previous prostitution conviction.
But prosecutors said Edwards targeted the three women and three teenage girls took work as prostitutes, using threats of violence and coercion to keep them under his control.
The jury also found Granados guilty of trying to influence a witness by sending her messages from Edwards’ Facebook account.
Granados claimed she was unaware that Edwards was promoting women for sex work and only contacted the victim in an effort to have her “tell the truth.”
Following the verdict, Edwards was remanded into federal custody and Granados was released pending a sentencing hearing.
A date for sentencing has yet to be set.