Accused sex-trafficker faced violence charges in S.C.

Hayward

A Summerville man who was arrested on sex-trafficking charges in New Jersey this week has faced charges of violence in South Carolina.

Demetrius James Hayward, 19, is accused of helping three Jersey City men force a 14-year-old girl and an 18-year-old woman to have sex for money in hotels around Jersey City with dates lined up through backpage.com.

Hayward’s role was to transport the two from hotel to hotel and help make sure they didn’t get away, according to the N.J. Attorney General’s Office.

Each of the females was forced to have sex with up to 10 customers a day, bringing in up to $800 a day, according to the office. The boss, 24-year-old Michael A. McLeod of Jersey City, kept most of the money and gave Hayward and the other two men a small percentage, prosecutors said.

Hayward was in jail from a previous arrest when he was charged with human trafficking May 11.

Four days earlier, Jersey City police were called to check out a report of a man using a stun gun on people at Bostwick Avenue and Martin Luther King Drive. They found a man matching the description with a stun gun in his hand. They didn’t find a victim. The report didn’t say why Hayward had a stun gun.

Hayward gave police a false name, address and birth date and claimed he had never been arrested before, according to the incident report.

While police were processing Hayward at the station, his brother came in asking about him. His brother gave officers Hayward’s correct name, address on Forrest Street and birth date.

A computer check showed Hayward had been arrested several times in Jersey City and was wanted in Dorchester County. The Dorchester County warrant said Hayward had a tattoo on his chest. He lifted his shirt at the request of officers and revealed a tattoo that said “Daisha.”

Hayward was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon and hindering apprehension.

Jersey City police notified police in Dorchester County, who said they would extradite him back to South Carolina. Then came the trafficking charge.

The attempted murder charge comes from an incident on Jan. 22, 2014. Hayward was living in an apartment complex on Langley Drive, which is off Bacons Bridge Road in Summerville. Police were called to the complex about 10 p.m. to check out a report of gunshots. A 20-year-old woman told police Hayward had shot at her. He was taken to jail and released on $50,000 bail.

Hayward was arrested two months later after witnesses told police he and three other men severely beat a man who was getting out of his car in Hayward’s apartment complex. He was charged with third-degree assault and battery and released from jail on $2,130 bail.

It’s not clear when Hayward moved to New Jersey. In April, FBI agents received a tip that a photo for a “female escort” on backpage.com matched a 14-year-old runaway from South Jersey. An agent lined up a date and rescued the 14- and 18-year-old. The three Jersey City men were taken into custody and Hawyard charged in his jail cell.

Besides first-degree human trafficking, Hayward is also charged with first-degree conspiracy, first-degree promoting prostitution of a child under 18, third-degree promoting prostitution and third-degree endangering the welfare of a child.

The trafficking charge alone carries a penalty of 20 years to life without parole.

Hayward is just one of several South Carolina men who have been arrested on sex-trafficking charges in other states recently. Those who follow the shady business say that’s because traffickers frequently move around.

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.