Update: Salisbury Man Sentenced to 145 Years in Prison for Human Trafficking
Cornelius Alexander Briddell
SALISBURY, Md.- A Wicomico County Circuit Court jury on Wednesday afternoon found a Salisbury man guilty of human trafficking, kidnapping and related charges. Following the jury's verdict, 36-year-old Cornelius Alexander Briddell was sentenced to 145 years in prison.
Authorities said 36-year-old Briddell was the leader of a human trafficking ring late last year in Salisbury. According to police, the women were kidnapped and forced to prostitute themselves at the America's Best Value Inn on Route 13 in North Salisbury.
Many of the women he kidnapped were heroin addicts, so he used those addictions against them, only giving them heroin if they hit a certain quota of "clients" every day.
Briddell denied all claims that he was in charged of the operation, testifying he was simply the money man. However, a jury felt otherwise and convicted him on a total of 34 charges. Some of the other charges included first- and second-degree conspiracy to commit rape and second- and third-degree sex offense.
After the jury declared their verdict, three of the four women who gave testimonies during the trial were able to give victim impact statements before the judge handed down Briddell's prison sentence. The women talked about how they now have trouble sleeping, low self-esteem and PTSD because of what Briddell and his accomplices did to them.
WBOC's Bill Mich spoke with one of those women after the trial ended. The woman wishes to remain anonymous, and said she is happy with the outcome.
"He's getting what he deserved," she said. "I feel like I can actually heal a little bit."
Briddell, his wife and his mother were also able to give a statement before his sentencing. They all emphasized that he deserves a second chance. All mentioned he is a religious man who has fallen. At one point, Briddell said he forgave the women who he kidnapped, and turned around and spoke directly to one. She later told us that action confused her.
"Why is he forgiving me? He should forgive himself. He should forgive his family. What he's done, he admitted to doing human trafficking, he needs to forgive himself, he needs to pray to God or something," she said.
Before giving out Briddell's sentence, the judge commented on the case.
"It was basically barbaric," he said during court.
In addition to his prison sentence, Briddell was ordered to register as a sex offender and he will not be eligible to register for parole until he has served half of his sexual assault convictions.