17-Year-Old Zephi Trevino To Be Tried As Adult for Capital Murder

Maplewood, New Jersey, UNITED STATES

DALLAS, Feb. 12, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Press House announces that Zephaniah Trevino, known as “Zephi” to her friends and family, was just 16 years old when her sex trafficker shot a man with whom she was being forced to perform sex acts. In a stunning hearing today, a judge ruled that the teen will be tried as an adult for a murder she didn’t commit.

At the time the shooting took place, Zephi was caught in a frightening cycle of abuse, with her trafficker using drugs, coercion, emotional manipulation, and physical threats against her and her family to keep her under his control. While she was being held at the Henry Wade Juvenile Justice facility, Zephi’s family moved to a new home out of fear for their safety.

Since being arrested for the crimes of her trafficker, Zephi has been further victimized by the criminal justice system. At each point when she attempted to make outcries about being trafficked by Philip Baldenegro, her pleas for help went unaddressed and unacknowledged. Her parents have been determined to fight for Zephi, aided by advocates and activists including Kim Kardashian, Jamie Lee Curtis, Demi Lovato, and Jason Flom.

In December, Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot faced calls for his recusal from the case after he shared a social media post from David Finn, the attorney of the man who is accused of abusing Zephi and who has admitted to pulling the trigger the night of the murder. The post outlined details of the case — details that Zephi’s attorneys, Justin Moore and Ashkan Mehryari, are prohibited from discussing due to juvenile confidentiality laws in Texas. In addition, Finn has gone on record about the great friendship he enjoys with Creuzot. This obvious bias against the young woman has heightened pressure for Creuzot to remove himself from Zephi’s case.

“The system in Dallas County is set up to destroy the lives of child sex trafficking victims,” said Moore. “It seeks to force victims into submission and corner them into taking responsibility for the crimes of their abusers. Fighting against such a system takes an incredible amount of courage and grit. It’s unfortunate that a young girl is being asked to display this.”

For media inquiries:
Dawn Kamerling
The Press House

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/1048db47-8838-4b2c-bf96-bc8c9e3b0547

Zephi Trevino