Ohio man accused of enslaving woman gets 30 years
This combination of undated photos released by the Ashland County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 shows, from left, Daniel Brown, Jordie L. Callahan and Jessica L. Hunt. A woman told authorities she was held captive for more than a year by the three who forced her to do housework, raided her bank account and menaced her with snakes and pit bulls. But an attorney for one of the suspects and the alleged captor's mother said the mentally impaired woman was given a place to stay because she and her young daughter had no home and that the woman was free to move in an out whenever she wanted. Authorities announced federal charges Tuesday, June 18, 2013 against the three people the woman lived with about 65 miles (100 kilometers) southwest of Cleveland. Beginning in early 2011, they forced the mother to cooperate with them by threats and physical abuse, they said. (AP Photo/Ashland County Sheriffs Office)
FILE - This undated file photo released by the Ashland County Sheriff's Office shows Jessica L. Hunt. A jury in March found Jordie Callahan, 27, guilty of forced labor, conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and a drug charge. That jury found the girlfriend, Hunt, guilty of the same three charges. She is expected to be sentenced Thursday, July 24, 2014. (AP Photo/Ashland County Sheriffs Office, File)
This undated photo released by the Department of Justice shows Jordie L. Callahan. Authorities in Ohio have arrested three people, including Callahan, on charges of enslaving a mentally disabled young mother and her daughter over a two-year period. Federal agents and Ashland police said Tuesday, June 18, 2013, the trio forced the woman to do housework, threatened her and the girl with violence and fed their pets better than the victims.(AP Photo/HO, Department of Justice)
Three undated photos provided by the Department of Justice show Jessica L. Hunt, left, Daniel Brown, center, and Jordie L. Callahan, right. Authorities in Ohio have arrested the three on charges of enslaving a mentally disabled young mother and her daughter over a two-year period. Federal agents and Ashland police said Tuesday, June 18, 2013, the trio forced the woman to do housework, threatened her and the girl with violence and fed their pets better than the victims. (AP Photos/Department of Justice)
CLEVELAND (AP) - An Ohio man convicted along with his girlfriend of enslaving a mentally disabled woman for two years through intimidation, threats and abuse was sentenced Tuesday to 30 years in federal prison.
The man, Jordie Callahan, and his girlfriend were convicted in March of forced labor, conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and conspiracy to illegally obtain prescription drugs.
The couple were accused of forcing the woman to shop, cook and clean up after their pit bulls and of using the dogs and a python to threaten the woman. They also threatened to harm her young daughter if the woman didn't obey. The woman and her child were forced to live in a dark, damp basement without a bathroom and the woman was forced to commit sex acts, prosecutors said.
The couple held the woman from early 2011 to late 2012 in their home in Ashland, about 70 miles southwest of Cleveland, prosecutors said. She escaped the home by getting arrested for shoplifting a candy bar and telling police she wanted to go to jail because people had been mean to her.
Federal prosecutors had urged Judge Benita Pearson to sentence Callahan, 27, to life in prison. His girlfriend, 31-year-old Jessica Hunt, is scheduled to be sentenced in Youngstown on Thursday.
Attorneys for Callahan and Hunt argued at trial that authorities had sensationalized the woman's living conditions and said she was always free to come and go. In an argument for a new trial, the attorneys said the woman frequently visited a convenience store, attended appointments with social service agencies and even had home visits with social workers at Callahan and Hunt's home in Ashland.
Two other people were indicted in the case. One suspect, Dezerah Silsby, was accused of luring the woman into Callahan's and Hunt's house with ice cream. She agreed to testify against the couple as part of a plea agreement and was sentenced to 45 months in prison in April. Her boyfriend, Daniel Brown, who was accused of helping to enslave the woman, also agreed to testify and received a five-year sentence in March.