Wife of man accused of human trafficking charged with threatening witness in his case

Local News
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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 news) – The wife of a man who is currently on trial for forcing women into prostitution is now facing her own charges after police said she has been threatening the witness in her husband’s case. 

According to charging documents, Ava Henry, 47, was charged with third-degree felony tampering with a witness after police said they received information the victim in a sexual exploitation case against her husband, James Savage Brown, as being threatened as a result of her cooperation with law enforcement.

Detectives said they overheard a jail phone call between Brown and Henry on November 26, 2018 where they discussed the victim.

Documents state Henry said “I already got on her, you need to get on her,” and Brown replied, “Be sure to get on her cuz we’re going to court and she’s gonna really start shaking [sh**].”

Detectives said they met with the victim a couple weeks later who explained that over the past few weeks she had been confronted by multiple people about cooperating with law enforcement.

She told detectives the harassment rose to such a level that she could not sweep the parking lot at work without people approaching her.

In one specific incidence, the victims said Henry told her to “Go ahead, get within swinging distance b****, I’ll get ya!”, according to documents. 

Documents also state Henry has a criminal record in both Utah and California and they believe she is a flight risk as well as a danger to the community.

A $10,000 warrant for her arrest was issued Tuesday. 

According to charging documents, Brown is facing multiple felony charges in relation to forcing women into prostitution, spanning over a seven-year time span. 

In June 2018, two women discovered they both had similar stories about Brown. Both said they had been assaulted and sexually abused by Brown and he was also using one of the women’s name to recruit others into his commercial sex organization, according to documents.

One of the women told detectives she met Brown seven or eight years ago at a bus stop in Sandy. She went with Brown to his apartment where she told police he prevented her from leaving for several days.

Documents state the victim said over the next several years Brown would compel her to work for him in commercial sex and threatened her with violence and intimidated her to “go get that money,” or “prostitute”.

According to charging documents, the victim said Brown would use drugs to coerce her into working for him. The woman also said Brown would threaten her with violence from his wife, Ava Henry, if she did not engage in commercial sex and give him all of the money.

Documents state in July detectives interviewed the second victim who said she met Brown in February 2018 while staying with a friend at the Zions Motel in Salt Lake City.

She said that friend instructed her to deliver heroin to Brown, who was staying in a separate room. After receiving the heroin, Brown slid a large dresser in front of the door and placed a large knife on top then proceeded to rape her, according to charging documents.

The victim told investigators that Brown kept her in the room for multiple days, raping her multiple times. She said Brown tried to convince her to perform sexual acts for money.

The woman told detectives the manager of the hotel kicked Brown out for failing to pay rent. As the two of them left, Brown dropped a bag of heroin before walking into the Salt Lake Community College.

According to documents, the woman picked up the bag and jaywalked in front of a police officer who then stopped her. She told the officer about being raped and how she had been held inside the motel room. 

The victim told the officer Brown stepped on her, grabbed her tight around her shoulders and hit her with his fists while holding something that cut her face. She said he hit her with a mini bat all over, said that he had a gun, burnt her on her breasts and abdomen with a cigarette and stuck and broke off an insulin needle in her arm, according to documents.  

Brown was arrested and is currently being held in the Salt Lake County Jail. Detectives said he is considered a flight risk and is facing multiple first and second-degree felony charges, and has a lengthy criminal history, in both Utah and California. 

The national human trafficking hotline is 1-(888)-373-7888. Resources are also available at humantraffickinghotline.org/.

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