Bond reduced for alleged Glenwood child trafficker
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
A 9th District judge on Thursday significantly reduced bond for Damara Hester, accused of trafficking juveniles for sex from a Glenwood Springs hotel in 2017.
Along with Hester, 26, a grand jury indictment in October accused Dasjuan Goode, 31, of operating the prostitution ring, and accused Ronald Braden, 53, of allegedly paying for sex with one or more of the juveniles the other two allegedly trafficked.
District Judge Denise Lynch reduced Hester’s bond from $50,000 to $10,000 cash surety, after hearing arguments about Hester’s minor criminal record and her desire to reunite with her son.
“Damara has a place to stay, (and) she has family willing to take her in and care for her,” public defender Elise Myer, Hester’s attorney, said in court.
Hester was most concerned for the son she had with Goode, Myer said. The child, who is 8 months old, had been in Hester’s mother’s care, but now is with Goode’s mother, who is unresponsive. Hester has been in custody in Garfield County for more than five months.
Goode was not in court Thursday as he is in custody facing charges in Arapahoe County. He also pleaded guilty recently to weapons charges in Adams County and sentenced to 18 months in Colorado Department of Corrections.
Goode’s mother has refused to give the child back to Hester’s mother, Myer said, and there’s concern about the child’s welfare. Goode himself will apparently be unable to take care of the child, Myer said.
Myer also indicated that Hester was coerced and manipulated by Goode in his relationship with her, as well as in the alleged charges of setting up a juvenile prostitution ring.
Hester is committed to seeing the case to its conclusion, Myer said.
Janet Drake of the Colorado Attorney General’s Office said the alleged victims in the case objected to reduction in bond for Hester, and said Hester’s family was clearly “ensconced in gang activity,” particularly through her father.
Myer countered that Hester’s mother is a business owner in Denver, and in a stable position to care for Hester and ensure she returns to Glenwood Springs for court, if she is able to make bond.
“I do think this bond was set so high due to the nature of the charges,” Lynch said. Hester’s record included only traffic and misdemeanor infractions, Lynch said.
It’s unclear what sort of conditions could be placed on Hester in the event she is released on bond, but Drake suggested an ankle monitor. Myer said they would accept any conditions of release.
Through his attorney, Braden requested a continuance in his case to June. The attorney said they are working with prosecutors on a possible plea deal, but if it doesn’t come by the next court date, Braden intends to plead not guilty.
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