ST. LOUIS -- Two Minneapolis men were sentenced to federal prison Friday for their part in a multistate prostitution ring that prosecutors compared to slavery.
Derry Evans, 28, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jean C. Hamilton to 85 years in prison. Monroe Evans, 50, received a 33-year sentence. Both were convicted in March of several counts of interstate prostitution, conspiracy and money laundering.
Four other men will be sentenced July 7 in the case. Six others pleaded guilty earlier.
''I think the sentences were very fair given the level of violence and disparity that these girls were subjected to,'' assistant U.S. Attorney Howard Marcus said afterward.
Attorneys for the two men disagreed. Jeffery D. Hilliard, who represented Derry Evans, said it was unfair that the six men were all tried together. He also noted that the ones who pleaded guilty got lighter sentences -- the most was 46 months.
Police in the St. Louis suburb of Maryland Heights initiated the original investigation that led to federal grand jury indictments against the men after discovering the business in 1997.
Eventually, the investigation turned up more than 50 women and girls as young as 14 working as prostitutes in 24 states and Canada.
The men are members of the so-called ''Evans family.'' Twelve of the 15 people originally indicted are members, all from the Minneapolis area.
At the March trial, Marcus compared the prostitutes' lives to slavery.
The women and girls testified they were beaten if they violated a strict set of rules and had guns held to their head. In one case, a witness testified that a family member forced her into an automobile trunk and said he was taking her to a place where he planned to kill her.
Steven V. Stenger, who represented Monroe Evans, asked the judge on Friday to consider that many of the women were prostitutes before they met the Evans family and some admitted involvement even after police broke up the ring. He also said it was incorrect to characterize them as ''vulnerable victims.''
''These women were well-versed in the world,'' Stenger said.
Hamilton rejected his argument.
''Having heard the testimony that I did, I don't think there's any question they were vulnerable,'' Hamilton said. ''They clearly were vulnerable victims.''
Monroe Evans, who stood with his hands clasped behind his back, said he had nothing to say before receiving his sentence.
Derry Evans complained about his attorney.
''I just feel like I haven't been represented,'' he told Hamilton. ''I just feel like my lawyer ain't done his job.''
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