YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) — A judge on Thursday handed a five-year prison term to the first of four people sentenced for participating in the enslavement of a mentally disabled woman held for two years with her young child in northeast Ohio.
Daniel Brown pleaded guilty last year to a single conspiracy charge and agreed to cooperate with the investigation. He was sentenced by Judge Benita Pearson in federal court in Youngstown.
Brown, 34, and three others were charged in connection with the enslavement and beating of the woman. Prosecutors said she was recruited and targeted along with her daughter as part of a plot to obtain the woman's government benefits and steal her pain medication.
Prosecutors also contend the woman was hit badly enough to require a hospital visit for pain medicine, which the defendants then took from her. They said the woman was forced to use her public assistance money to buy groceries and cigarettes for the defendants.
The victims were taunted and threatened with pit bulls and snakes, forced to sleep in unsafe and unsanitary conditions, had their access to the bathroom restricted and were prevented from eating regular meals, prosecutors said, citing trial testimony and court documents.
One woman has pleaded guilty to various charges, and a man and his girlfriend were convicted at trial last week.