JONESBORO — A Brookland man accused of trafficking a 4-year-old girl pleaded guilty Thursday to a lesser charge and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Tyler Sowell, 26, has been held in the Craighead County Detention Center since March, after the Jonesboro Police Department concluded that he was in contact with the girl’s family member “making sales and setting up timing with” her, according to previous Sun reporting.
Powell was initially charged with trafficking of a minor – a Class Y felony punishable by 10-40 years or life imprisonment in the Arkansas Department of Corrections. Prosecutors alleged that Sowell and Olivia Deroeck, 26, of Jonesboro trafficked the minor between Nov. 7, 2019, and March 11, a filing indicates.
Recently set to stand trial in 10 days, he entered a guilty plea for attempted patronizing a minor victim of human trafficking – a Class B felony, records show.
“The presumptive sentence on the Arkansas Sentencing Grid is 60-120 months. … The state would recommend the following sentencing: 180 months in the Arkansas Department of Corrections, with credit for 209 days in county jail, followed by 60 months suspended imposition of sentence,” a court document reads.
Prosecutors recommended three additional years in jail because Sowell “attempted to engage in commercial sexual activity with a 4-year-old child.” The victim’s father chose not participate in the court proceedings but has been in talks with prosecutors, Circuit Judge Cindy Thyer wrote in a docket entry.
“(He) understands and is supportive of the state’s recommendation,” Thyer wrote.
Sowell is also required to register as a sex offender and ordered not to contact the victim. His negotiated plea comes after his co-defendant pleaded guilty Wednesday for conspiring to traffic the girl.
According to her signed sex offender registration, Deroeck did so for “money to fuel her drug habit.”
Victims and other Northeast Arkansans can help combat human trafficking by calling the Jonesboro Police Department’s Sex Trafficking Tip Hotline at 870-336-7256 or contacting ICE’s Proactive Investigations for Victims of Trafficking unit at PIVOT@ice.dhs.gov.