Delaware Human Trafficking Case: Four Suspects Arrested

delaware suspects arrested

Delaware State Police T, L-R: Joshua Lankford and Lakeya N. Aldridge. B, L-R: Kevonne L. Murphy and David B. Goodwin

Delaware State Police announced on Friday, November 2 that four people accused of kidnapping a young woman and forcing her to perform sex acts have all been arrested.

Troopers were called to the Relax Inn at 30702 Sussex Highway on Wednesday, October 30, in the town of Laurel. They had received a tip that a woman was being held against her will. State Police officers arrived at the Inn just before 8:30 a.m. and discovered the 22-year-old victim.

relax inn trafficking case

Google MapsThe Relax Inn

According to the news release, the officers learned that the young woman was a victim of sex trafficking. She had been moved between Delaware and Maryland multiple times and forced to perform sex acts on paying clients.

The Delaware State Police arrested three suspects at the Relax Inn. A fourth suspect was arrested in Maryland and extradited back to Delaware on November 2. The three men and one woman were all from Federalsburg, Maryland.

• David B. Goodwin, 25
• Kevonne L. Murphy, 27
• Lakeya N. Aldridge, 38
• Joshua Lankford, 30

Here’s what you need to know.

1. The Suspects Face Dozens of Years Behind Bars if Convicted

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The Delaware State Police announced that Goodwin, Murphy, Aldridge and Lankford were all charged on four counts.

• Kidnapping First Degree
• Human Trafficking – Sexual Servitude
• Trafficking an Individual
• Conspiracy Second Degree

First-degree kidnapping is defined as a Class B felony in Delaware. The potential punishment if convicted is a prison sentence between 2 and 25 years.

Human Trafficking- Sexual Servitude is a Class C felony because the victim was an adult; the maximum punishment for that charge is 15 years in prison. The charge becomes a Class B felony when the victim is a minor.

Under Delaware law, “A person is guilty of trafficking an individual if the person knowingly recruits, transports, harbors, receives, provides, obtains, isolates, maintains, advertises, solicits, or entices an individual.” As for sexual servitude, a defendant is guilty if it is proven that the person intentionally “Uses coercion or deception to compel an adult to engage in commercial sexual activity.”

2. Bond Was Set at $100,000 or Higher For All Four Suspects, Cash Only

Jail records confirm that that Joshua Isaiah Lankford, Kevonne L. Murphy and David B. Goodwin were all booked into the Sussex Correctional Institution. The facility is located in Georgetown, Delaware, which is about 82 miles southwest of Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Lakeya Nicole Aldridge was booked into the Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution.

The suspects all appeared before a Justice of the Peace. Bond for Aldridge and Lankford was set at $102,000. Goodwin and Murphy’s bail was set at $100,000 each. The judge decided to make the bond cash-only.

3. One of the Suspects, Joshua Lankford Was Found Not Guilty of Murder By a Jury in August 2018

joshua lankford

Delaware State PoliceJoshua I. Lankford.

An online search of Joshua Isaih Lankford reveals multiple arrests in his background. In March of 2013, he was charged with second degree assault, which is a misdemeanor. That case was closed. Lankford again faced a misdemeanor assault charge in October of 2013; he pleaded not guilty and that case is now closed. Yet another assault case filed in June of 2017 resulted in a felony charge. That case appears to still be open.

There are at least six citations related to driving without a proper license. Lankford has also pleaded not guilty tp charges of drug possession.

But the most serious charge Lankford has faced was for first degree murder. The charge was filed June 5, 2017 in the Wicomico County Circuit Court. He was accused of being involved in the December 2016 shooting death of 31-year-old James Joyce. As WMDT-TV reported during the August trial, the prosecution had already arrested two other suspects for the murder.

The defense argued that the reason Lankford had possession of the murder weapon was because it had been given to him as a gift, and that the real killers were trying to “pin it” on Lankford. The jury agreed with the defense’s theory and found Lankford not guilty.

4. The Other Three Suspects Appear to Have Kept Low Profiles Prior to This Arrest, Based on Online Activity

lakeya aldridge

Lakeya Nicole Aldridge.

Lakeya Nicole Aldridge, 38, has a few prior arrests. She was born June 5, 1980, and appears to have previously lived in Denton, Maryland. An online search reveals at least three citations related to driving, including driving with a suspended license and driving an uninsured vehicle. There was also a second degree assault charge filed in 2012.

Aldridge and Kevonne Murphy both have Facebook pages, but have no information listed beyond just their profile pictures.

As for David B. Goodwin, an online background search does not bring up his name, at least not in Maryland. He also does not appear to have public social media accounts.

5. Delaware Has Stepped Up Efforts in Recent Years to Combat Sex Trafficking

Prior to 2014, sex trafficking victims in Delaware were often arrested for prostitution, as reported by Senate Bill 97 was signed into law on July 7, 2014, after it was passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate. The legislation was aimed at increasing penalties against traffickers and providing support for victims.

According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, the majority of victims are young females. As of November 2, the center had received more than 14,000 calls about potential cases for 2018.

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