Pimp skips last day of trial, where he's convicted by jury amid absence and sentenced to 45 years

Mycah Hatfield Image
Friday, August 25, 2023
Man who skipped trial still sentenced in child trafficking case
Records show Alton Charles Jackson was convicted of child trafficking and sentenced to 45 years while skipping his last day of trial in Harris County.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- A man skipped his final day of trial in Harris County, where he would ultimately be convicted and sentenced to decades in prison for child sex crimes.

Alton Charles Jackson, 43, was convicted by a jury of trafficking of a child prohibited conduct and compelling prostitution of someone under 18. He was sentenced to 45 years in prison and will not have the possibility of parole.

Prosecutors on the case said he posted at least four ads online advertising sex with a girl. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reached out to law enforcement after learning the girl in the ads was 16 years old and had been reported missing from Port Arthur.

Houston police arranged to meet the teen in an undercover operation at the Pearl Inn in the 11900 block of the West Sam Houston Parkway, according to court records.

"When the undercover approached the door, he noticed the driver of the vehicle was paying a lot of attention to him," Tim Bowman, one of the prosecutors on the case, said. "They also saw him messing with his phone, and the door proceeded to open before the undercover could even knock."

Jackson was arrested, and the girl was rescued on Jan. 21, 2022. He was released from jail on bond with an ankle monitor in the following months, according to records.

The trial started in his case on Monday. The victim did not testify, but Jackson took the stand in his own defense Tuesday.

"He also talked about the fact that they would smoke weed together, and sometimes he would not charge her for the weed if they had already had sex, and so that is prostitution," Alex Napuri, another prosecutor on the case, said.

Prosecutors said he admitted to having sex with the girl.

"That seemed to be the thrust of his defense when he got up and testified was, 'She told me she was 18,'" Bowman said.

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Prosecutors said both sides rested Tuesday, and they were set to return Wednesday for closing arguments and jury deliberations.

Jackson did not show up on the final day, and no one in court could reach him.

Pre-trial services noticed a tamper violation on his GPS monitor at 9:04 a.m. that day, according to prosecutors.

"I think him not showing up on Wednesday really sealed the deal that, I think, kind of clarified where he was at with it, at least for us," Napuri said.

His defense attorney, Joseph Varela, told ABC13 over the phone that he did not have any indication that he was not going to show up, and he has not heard from him.

"Judge Morton asked both sides to not reference the fact that he wasn't there, but it's very obvious to the jury when they come out, and the defense attorney is sitting by himself at the defense table," Bowman said.

Finding Jackson is a high priority, according to prosecutors. Their investigators began working with law enforcement Wednesday morning, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

"This did not appear to be the first time he was involved in this, so you know it's very much someone that we need to get in so he can come in and face justice," Bowman said.

In April, the Harris County District Attorney's Office Human Trafficking and Child Exploitation Division faced a similar situation with Thaddeus Allen in an unrelated case.

Allen did not show up to the final day of his trial when he was convicted by a jury of promoting prostitution. He was also out on bond and responsible for showing up to court. He has not been located.

"I think it's a serious charge and a serious punishment, so I think pimps, in particular, are trying to avoid it, and so running is the best way they know how," Napuri said.

Anyone with information on Jackson or Allen's whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.

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