HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- With the possibility of decades behind bars looming, a man skipped the final day of trial in his trafficking case and is now considered a fugitive.
Thaddeus Allen, 34, was found guilty by a jury on Tuesday after only 20 minutes of deliberating in a seven-day trial.
At the time of trial, Allen was out on bond and was responsible for appearing daily.
"He told us in trial that he's a ghost, and that's what he's done," prosecutor Tim Goodwin said. "He's trying to disappear, but it won't work."
The 34-year-old was charged with trafficking a young mother in 2018, but his case was delayed because of Hurricane Harvey and later COVID-19. The trial began last week.
"Our victim testified, and she told that very compelling story to the jury of how she believes she was in a relationship and she believed that he was helping her and how he manipulated her and then how he turned violent and then used that violence to force her back into it over and over again," Goodwin said.
Goodwin said Allen forced the woman, who is 23 years old, into prostitution using a gun. She is not believed to be his only victim. Goodwin said evidence showed he has had at least four other victims.
Manipulation was a pivotal part of his scheme, according to the prosecutor, who said Allen tried to manipulate the court during the trial.
"We believe that he appeared in a wheelchair when it wasn't needed," Goodwin said. "Ultimately, he decided not to show up on his last day, faking a hospital trip. We were not able to verify that he was at the hospital."
A jury recommended a 75-year prison sentence, but he has to appear in court to officially be sentenced.
"That's who he is," Goodwin said. "He is a trafficker. I believe that he will try to lay low for a little while, but he's violent. We are worried that he is a public danger. He used a gun to force our victim into prostitution. I absolutely believe that he would use violence again if it was if he thought it was necessary."
Goodwin said they are not sure where Allen is but are aware he has ties to Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to call the Harris County Sheriff's Office.
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