Man sentenced to prison for 32 counts relating to human trafficking
November 23, 2016
A Weld District Court judge sentenced man Wednesday to 248 years in prison after he was found guilty on 32 felony counts relating to human trafficking and pimping women and underage girls.
Judge Julie Hoskins sentenced Paul Burman, 33, to up to the meximum amount of time in prison after a jury convicted him in August.
"To our knowledge, this is the largest human trafficking sentence in Colorado history," Weld District Attorney's Office spokesman Tyler Hill said in an email after the sentence was handed down.
One of his victims described her life since meeting Burman as a "running nightmare."
"He forced me to do things that were unbelievable," said the woman, whom the Tribune will not name because she is a victim of rape and human trafficking. "He literally put a price tag on my body."
The charges stem from the year and a half Burman, who went by "Haylo," spent prostituting women and underage girls throughout northern Colorado and Nebraska, stretching from October 2012 through April 2014.
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He was arrested in December 2014 during a sweeping investigation by the Greeley Police Department, as well as the FBI's Innocence Lost Task Force and the Colorado State Patrol. During that investigation, police learned Burman often found women and girls on Facebook and offered them chances to earn money, and then coerce them into prostitution. Police reports detail how Burman would give his victims drugs and alcohol, then arrange for them to have sex for money, which he would keep. He also threatened them with violence and raped them, police reports stated. During the trial, witnesses recalled a specific instance in which Burman beat and sexually assaulted one of his victims because she hadn't made enough money, and talked back to him.
Burman's threats weren't limited to his victims. The lead investigator on the case, whose name the Tribune will not publish because of concerns about her safety if her name is widely disseminated, was also present Wednesday.
"Burman attempted to make contact with me," she said. "Police had to guard my residence. My child still has nightmares because of Paul Burman and is unable to sleep alone."
Prosecutors Thursday did their best to tell the stories of nine of the women Burman victimized, reading statements they'd written and quoting interviews they'd given. At one point, they showed a picture of a tattoo Burman forced one of the women to get that read, "money over bitches," and also a sketch another of his victims drew, showing a woman whose mouth was bound with a dollar bill. Prosecutors said this was indicative of how Burman made his victims feel — that their lives were worth less than money.
"I plead with you to please give me hope," Burman said to Hoskins at his sentencing. "I don't want to die in prison."
Hoskins walked through each sentence based on Burman's victims, and handed down sentences that, collectively, added up to 248 years in prison.