Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
SALT LAKE CITY — Just days before he was to go on trial, a long-haul trucker who authorities say is obsessed with vampires admitted in federal court Thursday to holding women as sex slaves.
Timothy Jay Vafeades, 56, pleaded guilty to two counts of transportation for illegal sexually activity in an agreement with prosecutors. The government dropped two kidnapping charges as part of the deal. Vafeades previously admitted to transportation of child pornography.
Prosecutors and Vafeades' public defenders also agreed to a 20-year prison term, which U.S. District Judge David Nuffer said he intends to impose. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Nov. 2. Vafeades is being held in the Davis County Jail.
Assistant U.S. attorney Trina Higgins said prosecutors are happy to have a just resolution. She said the case is complicated and reaches all across the country, and she hopes the guilty plea brings some closure to the victims.
The agreement spares the victims from having to testify at a trial.
"That's not something I can comment on, but if they wish to speak at sentencing, they'll be allowed to, and I hope that we'll hear some of their voices," Higgins said.
Vafeades' attorneys declined to comment as they left the courthouse.
Dubbed the "vampire trucker," Vafeades held women captive in his truck, the "Twilight Express," sexually and physically abused them and sharpened their teeth with a power tool, according to the charges.
The Murray man wore bracelets on his wrists that he called "slave bracelets" and would hit his victims with the bracelets if they didn't follow his commands, court documents say. He owned a pair of dentures that were carved to make the two front teeth appear as fangs, prosecutors said.
His alleged trail of abuse ended in November 2013 in Clay County, Minnesota, when a state trooper realized that the female passenger in Vafeades' semitrailer had a lifetime protection order issued against him in Florida.
Vafeades' guilty plea involved two victims in 2012 and 2013. But court documents say there were at least six victims and the abuse goes back as far as 1994. Vafeades was married to four of the victims and one was a relative, according to court documents.
One woman told investigators that Vafeades took all of her identification, cut and dyed her hair, sexually assaulted her, forced her to shower with him, refused to let her look at other people, filed her teeth and hit her with a belt. She escaped after six months while the truck stopped in California in 2008, court documents say.