THE CIRCUIT COURT OF HENRICO COUNTY James S. Yoffy, Judge
R. Scott (Linda R. Scott, PLC, on brief), for appellant.
Brittany A. Dunn-Pirio, Assistant Attorney General (Mark R.
Herring, Attorney General, on brief) for appellee.
Present: Judges Humphreys, Beales and AtLee Argued at
RANDOLPH A. BEALES, JUDGE
Johnson was convicted of pandering and of sex trafficking to
receive money, and was sentenced to a total of twenty years
of incarceration with thirteen years suspended. In this
appeal, he challenges the sufficiency of the evidence for
both convictions and alleges the trial court abused its
discretion in its sentencing.
familiar principles of appellate review, we will state
'the evidence in the light most favorable to the
Commonwealth, the prevailing party in the trial court, and
will accord the Commonwealth the benefit of all reasonable
inferences fairly deducible from that evidence."
Sidney v. Commonwealth, 280 Va. 517, 520 (2010)
(quoting Murphy v. Commonwealth, 264 Va. 568, 570
who admitted that she was a prostitute, testified that she
had known Johnson (whom she identified at trial as
"Soprano") for approximately seven years. She
testified that on November 14, 2016, Johnson drove her and
E.E., another woman, from Charlotte, North Carolina to
Richmond, Virginia. Once the three arrived at a Best Western
hotel in Henrico County, S.B. posted an advertisement on
Backpage.com advertising her prostitution services. She
discussed the advertisement with Johnson, who sat next to her
as she used her cell phone to post the advertisement. She
subsequently engaged in prostitution with five or six
"clients." S.B. testified at trial that, after each
client paid her, she placed the money she had been paid in
the Bible that was located in the hotel room. After S.B.
placed cash in the Bible, Johnson entered the hotel room and
retrieved the cash. She admitted at trial that she had worked
as a prostitute before she met Johnson - and that she
continued to work as a prostitute without Johnson's help
after he was incarcerated.
of "Operation Innkeeper," Officer Robert Woodburn
of the Henrico County Police responded to S.B.'s Backpage
advertisement via text message. Woodburn was directed to the
Best Western hotel. Officer Tony Rose of the Henrico County
Police arrived at the specified Best Western hotel in an
unmarked vehicle and in plainclothes. Rose was met in the
parking lot by E.E., who escorted him to room 427, where he
encountered S.B., who was completely naked, and a male who
was partially dressed. Rose identified himself as a police
officer and detained the male, S.B., and E.E. Inside the room
were clothes and a used condom on the floor, as well as wet
wipes and packages of condoms. Police also discovered cash
inside of a Bible in the nightstand. After being arrested,
S.B. informed the police that her pimp was in room 430 of the
Best Western and that his white Mercedes was in the hotel
the police arrested Johnson in room 430, they found $2, 010
in the room - as well as an additional $1, 900 cash on him.
The police also conducted a search of Johnson's Mercedes,
pursuant to a warrant. In the Mercedes, police found, among
other things, a bill of sale for the Mercedes to Johnson,
condoms (of the same brand and type found in room 427), and a
purse containing an ID and other items belonging to E.E.
trial, Johnson denied taking or receiving money from S.B. He
testified that he "had no real dealings" with S.B.
and only gave S.B. a ride from North Carolina to Virginia
because he and E.E. were making the trip together and E.E.
"was the one that brought along" S.B. He testified
that he was staying in room 430, where the police found him,
at the invitation of a friend and denied that the $2, 010 in
cash found in the room belonged to him, stating he did not
know who was the owner of that cash.
was charged with and convicted of pandering, pursuant to Code
§ 18.2-357, and of sex trafficking to receive money,
pursuant to Code § 18.2-357.1. Johnson was subsequently
sentenced to ten years in prison with six years suspended for
pandering and to ten years with seven years suspended for ...