HONOLULU – An exonerated death row inmate from Delaware was ordered held without bail Wednesday on a sex trafficking charge in Hawaii.
Isaiah McCoy used force, threats and coercion on young women to make them participate in prostitution, U.S. prosecutors alleged. He needs to be locked up so other victims can safely come forward, Assistant U.S. Attorney Morgan Early said at Wednesday's detention hearing in Honolulu. He's a danger to the community and to witnesses, she said.
"The nature of the charge involves threats, it involves violence," she said.
While McCoy is charged with one count involving one victim, prosecutors said they expect to bring additional charges.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin Chang granted the request to detain McCoy.
McCoy maintains his innocence and is an advocate for criminal justice reform, his federal public defender Max Mizono said.
In 2010, McCoy was convicted of shooting a Maryland man and was sentenced to death. He spent nearly seven years in prison before being acquitted during a second trial. He then moved to Hawaii.
Over the summer, Honolulu police received complaints from women that McCoy had been "pimping" them, federal prosecutors said in court documents. McCoy "makes us have sex for money, and holds our belongings to control us," one woman said, according to the documents.
Mizono noted that McCoy wasn't charged with alleged actions toward the women who spoke to police and accused him of rape and beatings. If McCoy was such a danger, police should have arrested him then, Mizono said.
In September, he was arrested in connection with a Waikiki fatal shooting. McCoy wasn't the murder suspect, but was in the same apartment as the accused killer.
McCoy's co-defendant on the federal trafficking case is his Army soldier wife, Tawana Roberts. Her detention hearing was postponed at the request of her defense attorney.