Texas couple found guilty of enslaving African girl for 16 years

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After deliberating for more than eight hours, jurors returned a guilty verdict against Mohamed Toure and his wife, Denise Cros-Toure, on charges of forced labor, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. 

U.S District Judge Reed O’Connor read the verdicts Thursday evening. The couple face up to 20 years in prison, the newspaper reported.

Toure’s father, Ahmed Sékou Touré, was the first president of Guinea, WFAA reported. The elder Touré served as the country’s president from 1958 until his death in 1984.

Mohamed Toure and Denise Cros-Toure, of Southlake, were accused of bringing a 5-year-old girl from her rural village in Guinea in 2000 and forcing her to work without pay in their home for years, the television station reported.

“The defendants preyed on a young and extremely vulnerable girl. Their despicable actions included cruelly abusing her, forcing her to work in their home, hidden in plain sight, for years without pay, and robbing her of her childhood,” Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband said in a statement released Friday. 

“I’m absolutely devastated,” attorney Brady T. Wyatt III of Dallas, who represented Mohamed Toure, told the Star-Telegram. “A family has been destroyed. The government told a story and we contradicted it.”

The defense attorneys said they would appeal the verdict, the newspaper reported.

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