BEAUMONT, Texas — A man will go on trial soon for human trafficking after a 2018 murder investigation in Nederland. The charges are part of a much larger picture police say came to light after Michael Legg was tied up and beaten to death in his Beauxart Gardens home.
Duane Owens Jr. is also accused of murder, criminal conspiracy, robbery, burglary and assault. Police filed the charges after watching doorbell video they say shows Owens breaking into the home of Michael Legg the night he was killed.
He's currently being tried on charges that he was trafficking Ashlie Martinez, who was also charged in Legg's death. In 2018, the attorney representing Martinez said Owens was pimping her out. Owens is only being tried at this time on the trafficking charge.
Attorney Ryan Gertz previously told 12News Martinez had a relationship with Owens after they met on a dating app. He claimed their relationship evolved from romantic to violent when Owens became her pimp. Gertz said Owens started using Martinez for sex trafficking.
“He had her believing that he loved her and they were going to get married and have this baby together and everything was going to be normal, while at the same time he was pimping her out when she was five months pregnant,” said Gertz.
In 2018, Gertz told 12News Martinez is not the only human trafficking victim. He said Owens trafficked several women in Beaumont and even some out of state.
Jury selection started Monday afternoon. Testimony could begin as early as Tuesday.