A Fort Worth man suspected of sexually assaulting and forcing a teenage runaway from Houston into prostitution has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of sex trafficking.
Marquist “Keezie” Fulcher, 28, entered his plea Tuesday in a Dallas federal courtroom on one count of conspiracy to commit child sex trafficking.
Fulcher, who faces a maximum of life in prison and a $250,000 fine, will be sentenced Jan. 31.
Fulcher’s plea came five months after a federal grand jury indicted him along with Chapoleon “Kidd” Fischer, 28; Shatara Armstrong, 31; Marcus Speed, 26; and Tiffany Gideon, 22 on child sex trafficking charges.
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Armstrong and Gideon entered guilty pleas in the summer. Gideon is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 29, and Armstrong on Jan. 31.
Trials for Fischer and Speed are set for April 2, 2018.
Federal agents said in court documents that in early 2015 Fulcher began acting as a pimp over Gideon and several other women and young girls including a 13-year-old and two 17-year-olds. One of the girls was a runaway from Houston, Fort Worth police said.
In late 2015, Armstrong began assisting Fulcher in his prostitution operation, renting rooms and creating and posting advertisements on the commercial website Backpage.com. The girls and women turned over all their money over to Fulcher.
Federal court documents indicated they worked with Speed and Fischer as part of a sex trafficking operation, trading girls amongst themselves and recruiting other girls on the internet.
Some of the girls were recruited from the Dallas area, and the pimps used hotels in Fort Worth and Dallas, according to court documents. In one incident, Speed is accused of taking a 16-year-old girl to Midland, where authorities later rescued her.
Federal agents said the pimps in the organization, including Fulcher, used violence and threats of violence to control the victims.
Fulcher was arrested Dec. 7 after he tried to flee from a Fort Worth officer while driving a stolen truck.
He had been under investigation by Fort Worth police after the Houston runaway was found in Fort Worth and admitted to being a prostitute.
Fort Worth police have said investigators believe the teen initially began working for another pimp but left him because he was violent and abusive, and began working for Fulcher. She was 14 when the sex trafficking began.
The teen was not allowed to keep any of the money she made, which is common in sex trafficking cases, and she was just given “food, a place to stay and clothes,” Fort Worth police told the Star-Telegram in December.
Fulcher had been sentenced to three years of deferred adjudication probation in July 2016 in Dallas County for the attempted theft of an ATM machine from a CVS Pharmacy. He had reached the plea with prosecutors not long after testifying in the trial of a co-defendant in the case.
In November 2016, Dallas County prosecutors filed a motion to revoke Fulcher’s probation after he allegedly missed appointments with his probation officers and failed to pay probation fees.
Fulcher has had previous convictions in Tarrant County for burglary, criminal trespassing, evading arrest and failure to identify.
Agents with U.S. Immigrations and Custom Enforcement and Fort Worth police investigated Fulcher’s operation.
This report contains information from Star-Telegram archives.