Charleston County sex-trafficking suspect cited for indecent exposure

Daewon Warren

A Summerville man who trafficked a pregnant teenage girl and a young woman by using violence and withholding food to coerce them to perform sex acts has been sentenced to 30 years in federal prison. 

During a sentencing hearing Friday, U.S. District Judge David Norton listed the details of 28-year-old Daewon Warren's crimes tied to his prostitution scheme based in North Charleston.

He said Warren essentially kidnapped a teen from New York and forced her to earn $500 a day from prostitution. The girl returned to New York at one point, but she was kidnapped again by Warren.

When the victim was pregnant at age 17, Warren prevented her from getting prenatal care, Norton said. She gave birth to the child, who died. 

Warren's other victim was a homeless woman who was kidnapped when she was "barely 18," Norton said. 

Both victims would be threatened with physical violence and deprived of food if they didn't follow his commands. 

"Everybody agrees that it's a terrible offense," Norton said. 

Warren had faced a minimum of 15 years and a maximum sentence of life in prison after a jury last year convicted him of eight counts including sex trafficking of children, enticement of a minor and transporting for prostitution. 

Authorities said Warren and his partner in the scheme, 25-year-old Monique Lewis, lined up customers in the Carolinas and Georgia on the now-defunct website Backpage.com.

Lewis previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transport a minor for prostitution and transporting a minor to engage in prostitution. She has not yet been sentenced, court records show. 

Prior to sentencing, Warren's attorney, Miller Shealy of Charleston, told Norton that his client did not dispute the seriousness of his crimes. However, he said he thought a life sentence would be "far excessive" because Warren didn't have a prior criminal record. 

Shealy mentioned the recent federal prosecution of Damon Jackson, a Columbia resident who received a 40-year sentence for leading a sex trafficking ring that preyed on women and minors. Unlike his client, he said, Jackson and his co-defendants had "many victims."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Austin said calls and emails from Charleston County jail, where Warren had been housed since his arrest in North Charleston in 2015, indicated he didn't have "even a shred of regret" for his crimes. 

Warren declined to speak in court Friday. 

Reach Angie Jackson at 843-937-5705. Follow her on Twitter at @angiejackson23

Angie Jackson covers crime and breaking news for the Post and Courier. She previously covered the same beat for the Grand Rapids Press and MLive.com in Michigan. When she’s not reporting, Angie enjoys teaching yoga and exploring the outdoors.