A Midway City man was sentenced Friday to 19 years and four months in prison for paying several underage teenage girls to have sex with him and taking photos of them to use for his personal child pornography collection.

Photo via [Public Domain] Wikimedia Commons
Daryl Anthony Hicks, 57, attempted to have his sentencing delayed so he could have to time to prepare to act as his own attorney.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Patrick Donahue denied the request, noting that Hicks insisted on having his sentencing set for Friday the last time he was in court. He said Hicks could represent himself, or keep his attorney James Crawford, but the sentencing would go forward regardless.

Donahue called out the defendant for “manipulating the system” and having conflicts with multiple attorneys.

“You just play games with the system,” the judge said.

“I have not manipulated the system once,” Hicks replied. “I have had attorneys walk out on me, but I have not gotten rid of any attorneys.”

Donahue praised Crawford’s defense of the defendant, but noted “the problem for you is the evidence was overwhelming against you, Mr. Hicks.”

One of Hicks’ victims had a statement read aloud to the judge saying she had “mixed feelings” about what happened to her.

“I have trouble trusting individuals as it is, and this experience has made me feel my body is not something special to share with my significant other,” she said. “I feel violated and disgusted.”

Hicks’ attorney argued that his client had received an eight-year plea deal offer prior to trial and felt that would be a more just punishment. Crawford downplayed the defendant’s crimes, arguing they were not the typical human trafficking violation that includes enslaving a victim.

“They were always free to come and go as they pleased,” Crawford said of the teens, who, he said, were runaways with issues before they met the defendant.

Deputy District Attorney Bryan Clavecilla noted that Hicks had 11 prior convictions, six of which were felonies, leading up to his latest brush with the law. While in custody, he has been cited 10 times for violations, six of which were major, Clavecilla said.

“He attracts these kids with cocaine and cash,” the prosecutor said.

The maximum punishment Hicks could have faced was 26 years in prison on his conviction on three counts of human trafficking of a minor, four counts of statutory rape, three counts of furnishing a controlled substance to a minor and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon, along with a misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance.

Hicks would have been eligible for a fourth human trafficking of a minor conviction if he hadn’t failed to pay one of the teens as he said he would, according to Clavecilla.

The victims were 16 to 17 years old, and the defendant gave them drugs such as methamphetamine and cocaine, Clavecilla said. The unlawful sex happened at various times between February and July of last year, the prosecutor said.

Three of the girls complained to sheriff’s deputies in July of last year, Clavecilla said.

When Hicks was arrested, investigators recovered three guns and cocaine in his apartment, the prosecutor said.

— City News Service

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