A juror fainted after prosecutors showed a video of a sex trafficking suspect allegedly abusing one of his victims. The judge ordered a recess to allow the jurors to compose themselves. One of the jurors fainted while leaving the box.
Prosecutors in Floresville, Texas, presented jurors with a disturbing video of sex trafficking suspect and former San Antonio lawyer Marke Benavides, 48, allegedly involved in an explicit sexual encounter with a woman he is accused of abusing. The alleged victim, a 29-year-old woman, told the jury he forced her to have anal sex and recorded their encounters, the San Antonio Express-News reported.
Benavides is charged with continuous trafficking of persons and forcing clients charged with prostitution to have sex in exchange for legal services. While charged in Bexar County, the judge moved the case to Wilson County because of pre-trial publicity.
“Mark it hurts! You’re hurting me,” the woman could be heard saying in the video. Benavides gave the woman sexually explicit commands and told her “Come back here” as she cried, the newspaper reported.
District Judge Dick Alcala noticed the jurors appearing very uncomfortable while watching the explicit video. He excused the jury for a short break so they could regain their composure. One woman fainted as she stepped out of the jury box and fell to the floor.
A female juror fainted while the panel viewed sex tapes in the human trafficking trial of ex-attorney Mark Benavides.
— Paul Venema (@PaulVenema12) March 27, 2018
The judge excused her from service and filled her seat with an alternate.
The witness told the Bexar County prosecutor that she had sex with him in July 2014, on the day he was appointed as her lawyer. She said the sexual act was in exchange for bond. She testified he would repeatedly take her to a local motel and direct her to perform sexual acts which he would record. He made her say “bye” to the camera at the end of her “performance.”
Benavides was initially charged in nine cases of compelling prostitution, the Express-News reported. Further investigation led to his being named in a multi-count indictment for which he now stands trial.
Prosecutors plan to ask for life sentences for each of the counts if Benavides is convicted. The plan is to request the sentences run consecutively so the man can not ever get out of prison, KSAT ABC12 reported.
Prosecutor Merideth Chacon told the jury, “He used our justice system to acquire women,” during her opening remarks to the Wilson County jury, the ABC affiliate reported.
Benavides has been awaiting trial since his arrest in November 2015, the Express-News reported. Police officers took the suspect to the department’s headquarters for questioning and prepared to execute a search warrant.
While awaiting questioning, Benavides made a phone call to his wife and asked to speak to his brother. According to police surveillance video, he told his brother, “I’ve got those [expletive] DVDs in there.” He can be heard telling his brother to destroy the videos.
Detectives testified they found 246 DVDs in a file cabinet that only the suspect had a key for. Benavides allegedly marked each video with a number, the woman’s initials, and codes to described the sexual acts in the videos.
While being interviewed by detectives Benavides complained that the charges would derail his political career as he planned on running for a judicial bench.
The trial continues this week.