Couple gets 7 years in prison each for enslaving Guinean girl

This combination of photos provided by the Tarrant County Sheriff's Department in Texas shows Mohamed Toure, left, and Denise Cros-Toure, a Fort Worth couple accused of enslaving a Guinean woman for 16 years. The couple on Monday, April 22, 2019, was sentenced to seven years in federal prison each for enslaving the woman for 16 years. (Tarrant County Sheriff's Department via AP)

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — A suburban Fort Worth couple has been sentenced to seven years in federal prison each for enslaving a Guinean woman for 16 years.

A federal judge in Fort Worth, Texas, sentenced Mohamed Touré and Denise Cros-Touré each to two seven-year terms and one five-year term, all sentences to be served concurrently. The 58-year-old Southlake, Texas, couple must also serve three years of supervised released upon completion of their prison terms and pay their victim $288,000 in restitution. They also will be deported to Guinea.

The couple and defense attorneys are exploring an appeal, said Scott Palmer, attorney for Cros-Touré.

Trial evidence showed the Tourés brought the girl, then aged at least 5 years but perhaps as old as 13, from her rural Guinean village in 2000. They forced her to work without pay in their home as a housekeeper, cook and nanny until she fled and alerted authorities.

The Tourés are the son and daughter-in-law of the late Guinean President Ahmed Sekou Touré, who helped lead Guinea to independence from French rule in 1958. Sekou Toure was the country’s first president, a role he held until his death in 1984.

The Tourés were convicted in January, and prosecutors had sought the full 20-year prison sentences allowed by law. However, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Conner tempered the sentence request, something that Palmer said suggests the trial judge did not believe the pair were as evil as portrayed by prosecutors.

“I think he saw through the exaggerations and lies of the prosecution,” he said.

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