A DeKalb County pimp was sentenced Friday to life in prison plus 25 years for racketeering and murdering his former girlfriend, who for a while was his favorite among all the women working for him.
District Attorney Robert James said the prostitution operation Derrick Holmes ran was nothing less than "modern day slavery." James said Holmes was a "monster that preyed on, used and abused women."
Holmes was convicted a week ago on charges of felony murder and malice murder in the death of Nakisha Rawls, along with aggravated assault, racketeering in his prostitution business and possession of a firearm. The jury deliberated only 30 minutes before reaching a decision.
Rawls was Holmes' favorite until she began wanting out of his prostitution business and planning to move in with her mother, the prosecution said. By then Emma Grant had begun replacing her in the top spot among Holmes' prostitutes.
Holmes didn't want her to go because she knew too much about the business, Grant said.
According to testimony, Holmes called Rawls 26 times on Aug. 29, 2008, the day before she died.
Then, around 12:30 p.m. the next day, moments after she got into her car in her mother's apartment complex parking lot, two men walked up to her Cadillac and, without speaking, repeatedly fired their Uzi-type weapons at point-blank range. Her car had 18 bullet holes; she was hit 11 times.
Police said there were no more calls from Holmes to Rawls after that.
At first, police had trouble linking Holmes to the shooting, but they traced the getaway car to Grant, who eventually pleaded guilty to racketeering.
Grant was arrested a week after Rawls was killed, but later was released after she was outfitted with an ankle monitor. Fifteen months later, Grant cut off the monitor and she and Holmes disappeared; the lookout for them was featured on an episode of "America's Most Wanted" in 2009.
Federal officers found them last December in Florida. They'd had a baby and were running prostitution operations in Tampa and Orlando.
Grant testified she still had to work. She said she was forced to stay in a motel room for weeks, having sex for money. She said Holmes started beating her a few months before they were caught and threatened to kill her, but she stayed because he would take their baby.
She also testified that Holmes had given each of the women and girls working for him a $1,000-per-day quota. Grant said there were rules for keeping him happy and she wrote them down: Never talk back to “Daddy,” never look directly at “Daddy,” never disrespect "Daddy,” do whatever “Daddy” said to do.
Another woman who worked for Holmes, Dorothy Hochecker, told the judge Friday that she feared him.
“Whenever I had something to drink, it had drugs in it," said Hochecker, who was 20 at the time. "He locked me in a hotel room for 11 days. He threatened me with a Taser.”
She said she would not be safe if Holmes were ever free again.
“I thought monsters were not real," Rawls' mother, Rosalyn Lumpkin, said in court Friday. "But I realize they are out there.”
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Credit: Channel 2 Action News