Appeals court upholds convictions in Ohio forced labor case

CINCINNATI (AP) — A federal appeals panel has upheld the convictions and sentences of a couple charged with enslaving a mentally disabled woman in their northeast Ohio home for nearly two years through intimidation, threats and abuse.

The three-judge 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel in Cincinnati unanimously agreed Tuesday that the federal charges were appropriate and that the prison sentences of at least three decades each were warranted.

A federal jury in Youngstown convicted Jessica Hunt and boyfriend Jordie Callahan last year on counts of forced labor, conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and conspiracy to illegally obtain prescription drugs.

Prosecutors said they threatened to harm the woman’s daughter and used dogs and a python for intimidation.

A defense attorney expressed disappointment and expects further appeals.

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