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Judge sentences Kent pimp to 35 years in prison

Shacon Barbee and defense attorney Brian Todd appear at Barbee
Shacon Barbee and defense attorney Brian Todd appear at Barbee's sentencing Nov. 15 in King County Superior Court in Kent.
— image credit: STEVE HUNTER, Kent Reporter

Shacon Barbee received an exceptional prison sentence of 35 years for pimping girls in Kent and Seattle.

King County Superior Court Judge Patrick Oishi on Friday in Kent followed the state's recommendation to add nearly nine years to the standard sentence range against Barbee for two counts of promoting sexual abuse of a minor. Barbee reportedly made as much as $192,000 during one eight-month period of pimping.

"I thought about this trial and sentencing and how I would describe it and there are so many words to describe what this case is about," Oishi said. "There was an incredible amount of greed, an incredible amount of manipulation and an incredible amount of a lot of people being hurt, especially young women.

"I think your actions that hurt people are going to continue for years and decades. I do find there are substantial and compelling reasons justifying the exceptional sentence as well as that the jury has found beyond a reasonable doubt the aggravating circumstance (of ongoing abuse against one of the girls)."

After a five-week trial, a jury convicted Barbee, 34, on Sept. 18 of two counts of promoting commercial sexual abuse of a minor; two counts of second-degree promoting prostitution; one count of leading organized crime; two counts of first-degree theft; and one count of second-degree theft.

Barbee asked the court to postpone the sentencing for another week so some of his family could be present, but Oishi denied that request. The sentencing already had been rescheduled from Nov. 8 at the request of the defense.

Valiant Richey, King County senior deputy prosecuting attorney, told the court Barbee deserves a lengthy sentence.

"He preys on girls and young women," Richey said. "He's targeting them because they are the perfect people to exploit. He uses his charm, you can see that evident with how he gives them pep talks, but he also admitted he uses violence and uses manipulation. And why was he doing all of this? There was some personal gratification from having sex with these girls but really it was all about money.

"It wasn't about relationships and the girls believed it was about relationships. They loved him or wanted to believe that they loved him. But he did it to get money."

Kent Police arrested Barbee in December 2010. He reportedly made as much as $192,000 during one eight-month period as a pimp in Kent and Seattle, according to charging papers. He has remained in custody since his arrest at the county jail at the Maleng Regional Justice Center with bail set at $500,000.

A then 19-year-old prostitute told detectives that she earned about $2,000 per week mainly from working along Pacific Highway South in Kent and Denny Way in Seattle. She gave all of that money to Barbee.

Barbee started pimping in January 2007 and had more than 40 women who worked for him, according to charging papers. Richey said even in the county jail, Barbee tried to stay connected to the pimping world.

"He calls his buddies and asks them to play pimping songs to him over the phone," Richey said about the hundreds of jail calls investigators listened to. "That's not remorse. He is embedded in this life and he will never give it up. He's in jail for 2 1/2 years and what's he want to do with his time? Listen to pimping songs."

Richey said one of the girls that worked for Barbee remains involved in prostitution.

"She's clearly not out of the life and may not ever be out of the life because of how entrenched she became because of her involvement with Mr. Barbee," Richey said. "One young lady said she couldn't do this anymore and he said to her what are you going to do, give away your body for free?"

Richey asked for the extra years because of Barbee's abuse of two girls specifically for promoting sexual abuse of a minor.

"That's the only way there can be some justice for those girls who came in to testify and did all of the things that were so hard for them to do," Richey said.

Richey said the mother of one of the girls in a letter to the court wrote, "Justice cannot instill a conscience in Mr. Barbee but it can protect society and other young women from him."

Defense Attorney Brian Todd, appointed by the court to represent Barbee who hod no money to hire an attorney, argued his client should not receive an exceptional sentence because some of the girls already were involved in prostitution before meeting Barbee.

"Some of these girls in the past had histories prior to Mr. Barbee and I bring that up because Mr. Richey is painting Mr. Barbee as going after these girls when they may not have predisposed to do something it looks like (two of the girls) were predisposed to do that and (one of the girls) continues to do that.

"A sentence within the standard range would serve as punishment and deterrence and safety of the community for the time he is in there. We would ask not to impose an exceptional sentence."

An 18-year-old prostitute told detectives she had been associated with Barbee since she was 13 and began working for him at age 16. Barbee paid for online ads and hotel rooms for the woman and transported her to the "dates."

Barbee would use text messages to communicate with women he groomed to work for him, according to charging documents. He would give them tips on how to manipulate a man, including one message with the title "Why does a hoe need a pimp?"

Barbee would often wake up at noon and be out on the streets until 2 a.m.. He would take the women shopping for clothing, lingerie and shoes. He paid for one of the women to get her nails done every other week at the cost of $30 and her hair done once a month at a cost of $100. He also spent money on hotels, cars and Las Vegas trips for his personal pleasure.

"There was a mountain of evidence against you," Oishi said. "There was an overwhelming case presented against you. There is no other way to describe it."

Oishi complimented Barbee about his behavior in court.

"As far as Mr. Barbee, I want to commend you," Oishi said. "This was a long process. You were never a problem. You were always polite and a gentleman throughout the entire process. Considering how long you were in custody and how long this trial was, your ability to keep it together trial should be recognized."

Barbee has a long criminal history, including juvenile convictions for second-degree attempted rape of a child in 1996; taking a motor vehicle once in 1996 and four times in 1995. He has adult convictions for failing to register as a sex offender in 1998 and 2006; unlawful possession of a firearm in 1999; communicating with a minor for immoral purposes in 1999; possessing stolen property in 1998; and taking a motor vehicle in 1997.

Police used an undercover prostitution sting at the Hampton Inn in Kent to catch Barbee. Kent Police seized $18,000 in cash from a Burien storage unit used by Barbee. Police also seized his Toyota Avalon and a Mercedes S420.

That cash and the cars are in Kent Police evidence. Now with the case done, Kent Police and the city are in the process of getting the case and cars under criminal forfeiture because of the organized crime part of the sentencing, said Eric Steffes, the lead detective on the case.

Steffes said Kent Police Chief Ken Thomas will make the final decision about what to do with the case and cars. He said options include using the money to help the victims in the case. He said the department will try to return the Avalon to one of the women, who Barbee force to sign the car's ownership over to him.

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