Kenneth Loyd Woods (Cullman County Sheriff’s Office)
CULLMAN – On Thursday afternoon, Kenneth Loyd Woods, the first Cullman County resident to be charged with human trafficking, saw his bond in that case revoked after a new arrest on July 30, 2018 on charges of tampering with a witness and contributing to the delinquency of a minor involving two of the victims in the original case.
Woods, of Fairview, a previously registered sex offender, was arrested on May 9, 2017, and charged with second-degree rape, two counts of electronic solicitation of a child and two counts of transmitting obscene material to a child. During an investigation, Cullman County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) investigators learned that Woods was possibly distributing pills and alcohol to underage students at a Cullman County high school. As the investigation progressed it was determined that the suspect would allegedly demand payment, “other than a monetary value,” according to a media release from the CCSO, for the pills and alcohol that he was selling to the underage students. The Tribune learned from multiple sources that the high school was Fairview High School.
On July 20, 2017, Woods was indicted on two counts of first-degree human trafficking along with electronic solicitation of a child, second-degree rape, transmission of obscene material to a child and enticing a child for immoral purposes. The indictments were the first for human trafficking in Cullman County history. A grand jury returned two true bills of indictment for Woods, stemming from his arrest on May 9, 2017.
The first indictment was for electronic solicitation of a child, transmission of obscene material to a minor, second-degree rape, enticing a child for immoral purposes and first-degree human trafficking.
The second was for electronic solicitation of a child, transmission of obscene material to a minor and first-degree human trafficking.
According to the complaint, Woods supplied alcohol and drugs to students at Fairview High School, then demanded payment from them in the form of sex acts. In the words of the law, Woods allegedly recruited, enticed, solicited and induced a minor for the purpose of sexual servitude. He has been out on bail while awaiting trial.
The new arrest involves an alleged meeting between Woods and two of the victims from that case at a house belonging to Woods’s son. According to testimony from Cullman County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) Investigator Ryan Hogeland, one of the victims ran away from home and met with a friend who was also a victim. The two allegedly went to a house belonging to Woods’ son, where Woods himself previously lived, and, while the two were there, Woods came over to the house.
Hogeland also testified to finding evidence that Woods paid the cell phone bill of one of the victims and provided her with food. The victim, though, did not report being asked to alter her testimony in exchange for the gifts.
According to Cullman County Deputy District Attorney John Bryant, Woods should have had no contact with the victims at all and contributed to the delinquency of a minor by not reporting the runaway.
Circuit Judge Gregory Nicholas, in his ruling, determined:
“Woods arrest for the new offense of Tampering with a Witness and the two new offenses of Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor were based on probable cause as determined by the magistrate on July 24, 2018 and July 27, 2018. Therefore, the court finds that probable cause exists that Defendant Woods has violated the mandatory terms of his pretrial release by committing new criminal offenses.
“It is therefore ORDERED that the release bond of the Defendant, Kenneth Loyd Woods, is revoked in this case and he shall be held in the Cullman County Detention Facility pending further court order.”
Due to the defendant’s now-incarcerated status, Nicholas also ordered that the case be expedited, and that the prosecutor and defense team “be prepared to proceed without delay at all future court dates.”
For more on the crime of Human Trafficking and Cullman County’s three current cases, see our story www.cullmantribune.com/articles/2018/03/13/what-human-trafficking. For specific information on the original human trafficking case against Woods, see www.cullmantribune.com/articles/2017/08/29/fairview-man-indicted-2-counts-1st-degree-human-trafficking.
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