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A couple responsible for coercing a 17-year-old they took under their wing into prostitution pled guilty to sex trafficking on July 1 — charges that carry a minimum sentence of 15 years behind bars.
Federal prosecutors said that Domingo Salazar, 33, and his wife Norma Mendez, 32, used “physical violence, threats and intimidation” to force their 17-year-old victim to prostitute herself between 2007 and 2009, when the couple was finally arrested.
The two would not permit the victim to leave their apartment unless she was going out to meet clients, prosecutors said.
When the young woman returned, she gave half the money she earned to Salazar. The rest was given to drivers who transported her to her rendezvous with potential Johns.
Through it all, Salazar would terrorize his money-maker by beating her with a brick and a wooden board. Mendez would demand obedience after cutting her with a knife, prosecutors said.
This is the second time in two weeks that a prostitution case was brought before a Brooklyn Federal Court judge.
On June 24, Judge Sterling Johnson Jr. sentenced Jamali Brockett, 26, to 24 years in prison for pimping out teenagers and young girls for prostitution to a client base that stretched from Brooklyn to South Carolina.
35 years for predator
By the time he’s out of prison, Cornelius Abson, the 38-year-old who made a career out of robbing elderly women in Flatbush, Kensington and Crown Heights, will be eligible for social security.
Abson was sentenced to 17 to 35 years in prison on July 2 for robbing and assaulting five elderly victims in 2008, District Attorney Charles Hynes announced. He had pled guilty to the crimes back on June 11.
Abson began targeting seniors back on June 27, 2008, when he attacked a 77-year-old woman in her apartment building on East 19th Street between Cortelyou and Dorchester roads.
Police said he followed the elderly tenant into the elevator, grabbed her from behind and placed her in a choke hold until she passed out. He then ran off with her property.
His spree continued a few days later on Parkside Avenue between Bedford and Flatbush avenues when he mugged a 67-year-old in the lobby of her building, again choking his elderly victim until she lost consciousness.
Prosecutors said he’s also responsible for knocking out and robbing a 75-year-old woman on East 18th Street between Albemarle and Beverly roads and jumping 85-year-old woman as she visited her niece on Washington Avenue between Sullivan Place and Montgomery Street in Crown Heights.
The attack, which took place in the building’s elevator, was caught on a surveillance camera — damning evidence that prompted the plea deal.
Murderer convicted abroad
A former cab driver who murdered a woman and left her dismembered remains in garbage bags at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge two decades ago finally received justice — in his native country of Montenegro.
Officials said that Smailj Tulja, 69, was sentenced to 12 years behind bars for the September, 1990, slaying that took place an ocean away from his homeland off the Adriatic Sea.
Police said that Tulja was arguing with Bronx resident Mary Beal when he bludgeoned her to death and cut up her body.
When her remains were discovered, suspicion immediately fell on Tulja, had a stormy relationship with Beal, a court translator.
The NYPD’s suspicions were confirmed when cops found large bloodstains --— which were later linked to Beal — in Tulja’s apartment.
But by that time, Tulja had already fled the country.
Cold Case detectives and the FBI tracked Tulja back to the Balkans, where, they later learned, he was considered a serial killer. He was a suspect in the murders of at least seven women — in Belgium and Albania before coming to the U.S.
Investigators there never had any hard evidence to link Tulja to those crimes, but, with the NYPD’s help, were able to arrest and prosecute him for the Beal murder, officials said.
Tulja’s attorney is appealing the verdict.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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