By Nicki Schedler
The defendant in a human trafficking and pimping case testified in Sutter County Superior Court Monday.
Archie Thompson, 29, took the stand as part of the eighth day of his jury trial for 17 felony charges including kidnapping, human trafficking for sex, procuring another for prostitution, pimping and threatening to commit a crime resulting in great bodily injury.
Thompson took the stand Monday afternoon and was questioned by his defense attorney Steve Whitworth about the events leading up to the alleged 2016 kidnapping of an unnamed victim.
Whitworth asked Thompson about his relationship to Madison Gonzalez and another woman, who Thompson said he was helping by posting ads for their prostitution to the website “Backpage.com” (now shutdown). Gonzalez, a co-defendant in the case, testified in the trial on Feb. 4 and 5.
Thompson testified that he would help Gonzalez and the other woman with their Backpage posts by depositing bitcoin – digital encrypted currency – on the post to help them become more popular on the site.
“You gotta have bitcoin on the post to go to the top,” Thompson said.
He said he received the money to purchase the bitcoin from his work producing beats and music for people with his mobile recording studio. He said he didn’t take any money from Gonzalez or the other woman.
“They’re keeping the cash together,” Thompson said.
Eventually the second woman left Thompson and Gonzalez, after what Thompson said was fighting between the two women, and jealously over Thompson and Gonzalez’s relationship. He said he didn’t have any ill-will toward the woman who left.
In October 2016 after the woman left Thompson and Gonzalez, he said he met the victim in a parking lot where a group of people were doing drugs and partying together. Shortly there after, he said he met the victim again at a home in Yuba City where Thompson was recording music.
Thompson testified that the victim had sex with Malcolm Lartigue at the house that night. Lartigue was arrested and charged with human trafficking, but was later released in August 2017 when a judge found there was no probable cause to hold him.
Whitworth had Thompson draw a diagram of the Yuba City house on an easel for the jury, to illustrate how small the one-bedroom home was and how those present in the home during the alleged sex would have known what was happening.
In November 2016, Thompson said he met up with the victim and another woman the night Gonzalez returned from a trip where she was prostituting in Tempe, Ariz. He said he had sex with the two victims that night in the Econolodge in Yuba City, and testified that they showed interest in prostituting like Gonzalez.
Thompson said that shortly after the victims said they wanted to work with Gonzalez, they went with Gonzalez on a trip to Tempe, Ariz., to work as prostitutes while Thompson stayed in California.
After the Arizona trip, Thompson said he made a plan to record music with someone in Antioch. On Dec. 2, he went with Lartigue and Gonzalez to Walmart in Yuba City to purchase a BB-gun, to use in the music video Thompson was going to shoot in Antioch.
Then the group picked up Jamie Bobb, another co-defendant, and drove in two cars to pick up the victim. Thompson said he drove with Gonzalez in his car, while following Bobb, Lartigue and the victim in the other car.
Thompson said he told Gonzalez to signal to the other car to pull over, and then he got out of his car and into the backseat of the other car, sitting next to the victim. He said he didn’t wave the BB-gun around or yell when he entered the vehicle.
Thompson said he got into the other car because he wanted to talk to the victim about what happened with her and Gonzalez in Salt Lake City, Utah, where the two were questioned by police, and the victim left back to California after being questioned.
“We (the victim) were talking everyday up until Salt Lake,” Thompson said. “I’m trying to see what’s happening the whole time.”
He said the two cars drove to the home in Yuba City where he brought the victim and Gonzalez together, to talk about what happened in Utah. He said the two were arguing with each other, and said the victim was yelling in his face, so he put his hand on her face and pushed her.
He said the victim was quiet after the altercation, and Thompson said he apologized and gave her a hug.
“I’m like, my bad, you feel me,” Thompson said.
Thompson said after he apologized, everything went back to normal between he and the victim.
Thompson will continue his testimony today. The trial will resume at 9 a.m. in Sutter County Superior Court.