Prosecutor: Boise pair forced women into prostitution

One defendant just entered drug court. The other has a long criminal history.

kterhune@idahostatesman.comNovember 9, 2013 

A Boise couple charged with human trafficking lured women from the Ada County Jail who were raped, drugged and forced to prostitute themselves, Deputy Prosecutor Cathy Guzman said.

A Wednesday arraignment revealed chilling details in the case against 44-year-old Derrick Wallace Hicklen and 28-year-old Gypsie Lee Akers.

Court documents show that the pair are accused of having targeted women for prostitution since September 2012.

Akers, who has been incarcerated for about four months on a charge of injury to a child, continued to try to snare women into the prostitution ring from her cell - including some inmates who were in the jail with her, Guzman said.

Akers told Judge Theresa Gardunia Wednesday that she was unemployed, and lists herself as "self employed and loving it" on a Facebook page appearing to belong to her.

Some of the victims Akers approached were interested in a job as a prostitute, Guzman said, but several of the women were not. Those who refused were forced to have sex for money anyway.

Hicklen sexually assaulted more than a dozen victims and videotaped the acts, according to Guzman. Police say the drugs Hicklen gave the women before the rapes left them unable to resist or object.

After the rapes, Akers took the women to local motels, Guzman said.

"This defendant comes on board, takes them to a hotel room, forces them to stay there, buys clothing and advertises them on Backpage," she said.

The women were forced to perform sex acts for money, which Hicklen and Akers kept.

"Basically, the women are being given only Big Macs, fries and cigarettes," Guzman said.

The victims were threatened if they tried to leave.

"[Hicklen] identified himself as a gang member, a Blood from Compton, and a 'regulator,'" Guzman said.

Hicklen, who is 6-foot-2 and 293 pounds, often stood in the doorway and watched the victims get dressed for "work," Guzman told the judge.

She asked Gardunia to set bond at $1 million for each suspect. Akers' public defender, John Shackelford, asked the judge to lower it.

"I understand the seriousness of all these charges," Shackelford said. "(Akers) was just accepted into drug court, however, and she's eager to get started with that."

He asked for a $500,000 bond for Akers, who has been charged with felony counts of human trafficking, procurement of prostitution, receiving pay for procuring a prostitute, compelling a person to engage in prostitution and accepting earnings from a prostitute.

Hicklen is charged with rape, human trafficking, procurement of prostitution, receiving pay for procuring a prostitute, compelling a person to engage in prostitution, accepting earnings from a prostitute and video voyeurism - all felonies.

Gardunia agreed with Shackelford and set Akers' bond at $500,000, saying the suspect would be well-supervised in drug court. But Guzman asked her not to do the same with Hicklen's bond.

Hicklen, an Alabama native, has an extensive criminal history and faces up to life in prison if convicted of the current charges. He was arrested on robbery and drug possession charges in 1985, then arrested again in 1986 on charges of taking a vehicle without permission and receiving stolen property. He was sent to prison, but paroled in 1990.

In 1991, he was convicted of robbery and went to prison again. In 1995, he escaped from custody and spent some time as a fugitive. He was arrested on two counts of driving under the influence in 1996, and parole violations in 1996 and 1998.

In 1999, he was charged with three counts of robbery with a deadly weapon in Las Vegas.

Hicklen surfaced in Ada County in 2008 and has DUI convictions in 2008 and 2009 in Ada County. Guzman said the suspect also has tattoos that signify ties to a California-based gang.

"I think he poses an extreme risk to the community as well as a flight risk because his ties to Ada County are quite tenuous given his violent criminal record," she said.

Shackelford, who was also appointed as Hicklen's public defender, did not argue.

Gardunia set Hicklen's bond at $1 million.

Both Hicklen and Akers are set to appear in court again Nov. 19.

Katie Terhune: 377-6219

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