Houston music studio owner surrenders to human trafficking charges after nearly 2 months on the run
HOUSTON – The owner of a northwest Houston recording studio surrendered Wednesday on charges of sexual assault of a child, compelling prostitution and human trafficking. However, Otis Berry, 49, proclaimed his innocence and blamed his legal trouble on his brother, Tyrone Berry.
"I'm really anxious to get my name cleared, and my story heard," Otis said.
While Tyrone was arrested in November, when criminal charges were filed, Otis has been on the run since then. Community activist Quanell X facilitated Otis's surrender to Harris County Sheriff's deputies.
Quanell X agreed it didn't help Otis' case for him to evade arrest.
"And that's exactly what I said to him, 'if you're innocent, don't run, because when you're running, it makes like you're guilty,'" Quannel X said.
Court documents stated the sexual assault happened last summer and involved two 16-year-old runaways, who claimed they were forced into prostitution by various men.
According to court documents, the girls claimed that after they were forced to prostitute and then abandoned by two other men, they couldn't identify. They met Tyrone at a northwest Harris County motel, where he worked as a front desk clerk.
Investigators said the teens claimed Tyrone, who goes by 'Big Mike,' introduced them to his brother Otis, who goes by 'Big Face Tulu.'
The girls said they were kept at Otis's recording studio on Yale street for four days, investigators said.
Court documents accused the brothers of forcing the girls to prostitute in exchange for food and sleep with customers of the studio.
Otis blamed everything on his brother.
"He brought those two girls down there on his own will, and he took them out on his own will," Otis said. "I never touched them. I never touched them."
He also said he never forced the girls to have sex with anyone.
Otis said he forced his brother and the girls to leave his studio after a short while because he was concerned about their ages.
"This is my livelihood; this is where I work, this is where I hang out, why would I bring them there and keep them there for four days and not feed them food. It makes no sense to nobody," Otis said.
The girls said they were finally dropped off at a Walmart, because they were complaining too much about not getting enough food to eat, according to court documents. A sheriff's deputy took one of the teens to the hospital because she showed "signs of being trafficked into prostitution," per the documents.
The other teen was eventually tracked down, per the documents.
Both girls gave statements about what happened and picked Otis and Tyrone out of photo lineups, according to court documents.
Harris County Criminal Court records Tyrone has prior convictions for sexual assault of a child, assault and assaulting a family member. The records also show Otis has previous charges for drug possession and selling beer without a permit.
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