Brandon Everett Palmer, a 40-year-old resident of Texarkana, has been sentenced to two life sentences plus 80 years after being found guilty of sex trafficking, sexual assault, and possession of contraband in a correctional facility. The sentence was handed down on Friday, August 18, 2023, by 202nd District Judge John Tidwell, following a conviction by a jury composed of six men and six women.
Palmer's conviction stemmed from his involvement in a series of heinous crimes against vulnerable women in Bowie County. The jury found him guilty on charges of continuous trafficking of persons, aggravated sexual assault, and prohibited item possession within a correctional facility. The jury's decision on the sentence was influenced by additional testimonies presented to assist in determining an appropriate punishment.
The trial included a particularly harrowing account from a survivor who was just 13 years old when she encountered Palmer. The survivor recounted being left in Palmer's custody after seeking refuge as a runaway. She testified that she was given a drink by Palmer, which caused her to lose consciousness. Upon awakening, she found herself being sexually assaulted, with a hypodermic needle inserted into her neck.
Co-defendant Rashaan "Fashion" Cunningham, aged 46, had previously pleaded guilty to continuous trafficking of persons as part of a plea deal that resulted in a 40-year sentence. The trio, which also included Palmer's brother Marcus Palmer, 38, and Ryan Allan Layne, 48, was alleged to have operated a prostitution ring in the Texarkana area. Layne is accused of actively participating in the criminal enterprise, while Marcus Palmer and Layne are scheduled for trial next month on charges of continuous trafficking of persons.
Evidence presented during the trial showcased Brandon Palmer's extensive history of arrests dating back to 2002. His criminal record included multiple arrests for offenses such as family violence, assault, auto theft, drug possession, evading arrest, and possession of a firearm by a felon.
As a result of the sentencing, Brandon Palmer will serve concurrent life sentences for sex trafficking and sexual assault, in addition to an 80-year term for possessing contraband within the Bowie County jail. Legal constraints prevented Judge John Tidwell from stacking these sentences.