Fri., 12:16pm: Co-defendant testifies at slave labor trial in Youngstown
YOUNGSTOWN – A co-defendant who took a plea deal says she was responding to threats when she did chores for two people now on trial for allegedly enslaving a mentally disabled Ohio woman.
Dezerah Silsby testified Thursday in federal court in Youngstown.
The defendants, 27-year-old Jordie Callahan and 32-year-old Jessica Hunt, pleaded not guilty and argue they were trying to help a homeless acquaintance.
Prosecutors say the pair enslaved their accuser for two years with her child in Ashland and threatened harm to the child if the woman didn’t meet their demands.
The Ashland Times-Gazette reports Silsby testified that she did chores and errands for the pair because Hunt threatened to have social workers take away Silsby’s infant son.
Silsby and a fourth defendant pleaded guilty earlier in the forced-labor case.