15-minute deliberation before Vernon man convicted of recruiting prostitutes

Published 6:11 pm Friday, October 22, 2021

A Vernon Parish man was convicted this week in the 30th Judicial District Court for recruiting women into prostitution.

Jerry Lee Eaves, 40, was found guilty by a 12-person jury on charges of pandering. Louisiana statutes define pandering as “the enticing, placing, persuading, encouraging or causing the entrance of any person into the practice of prostitution, either by force, threats, promise or any other device or scheme.”

The jury deliberated for 15 minutes before returning a verdict to Judge Scott Westerchil.

The charge of pandering carries a fine of not more than $5,000 or jail time with or without hard labor for no more than five years, or both. Eaves could be facing harsher sentencing however, as District Attorney Terry Lambright said his office will be seeking to file a Habitual Offender Bill against Eaves with the court.

With prior convictions alone, Eaves could be facing fines up to $50,000 and not more than 50 years in prison, but if declared a habitual offender, he could be facing a possible sentence of life in prison without the benefit of parole or suspension of sentence.

Eaves was arrested in February 2019 by Vernon Parish authorities following an investigation into a report received in December 2018. He was initially charged with pandering and obscenity.

Lambright thanked all those whom he said played a role in the case, which included the Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office and Assistant District Attorney Lea R. Hall.

“I want to assure the citizens of Vernon Parish that I vow to do everything in my power to make our community as safe as possible for everyone,” Lambright said.