Haris McKinley, the Elk Grove attorney who bused an underage teen to Atlanta from California so she couldn’t take the stand against her alleged pimp, was sentenced Thursday to a year in Sacramento County jail plus five years of probation in the case.
Attorneys said McKinley, 33, who had pleaded no contest in February to a felony count of dissuading a witness as part of a plea agreement with Sacramento County prosecutors, said alcohol and drug problems helped derail the counselor, citing letters from Kaiser Permanente and California State Bar’s lawyers’ assistance program.
I don’t want you to think your life is over. I hope that once you’ve paid your debt, that you’ll come back to us with a better understanding of yourself.
Sacramento Superior Court Judge Jaime Roman
In a lengthy address from the bench, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Jaime Roman remarked on the numerous times McKinley appeared before the court as attorney, not defendant, calling the Thursday sentencing, an “incredibly difficult moment.”
“I look at this as simply a lapse of judgment on your part,” Roman said. “I don’t want you to think your life is over. I hope that once you’ve paid your debt, that you’ll come back to us with a better understanding of yourself.”
Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office prosecutors said McKinley and another man, Latrele Mitchell Neal, sneaked a phone into his client’s holding cell to contact the girl, then drove hours into the San Joaquin Valley to pluck the 15-year-old girl from her grandmother’s house for the drive back to Sacramento and a cross-country bus journey to Atlanta. McKinley had faced six charges including conspiracy, accessory after the fact, lewd acts on a child and contributing to the delinquency of a minor before striking the deal with prosecutors.
Neal and McKinley’s client, Desmond Octavius Oates, remain held in Sacramento County Main Jail.
Oates, accused of prostituting the 15-year-old girl and a second girl, 17, between June and August 2016, faces nine charges in all including pimping, pandering, dissuading a witness and causing a minor to engage in a commercial sex act.
Neal faces charges of dissuading a witness, conspiracy and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.