Reading man jailed up to 22 years for witness intimidation after ordering $20K ‘hit’ in human trafficking case

Attorney General Michelle Henry announced that a Berks County man was sentenced to up to 22 years in prison for intimidating a victim who was testifying against him in a human trafficking case.

Dushawn Ellis, 34, declared that he put a $20,000 hit on the witness, and, according to trial testimony, took steps to ensure that the victim was aware of the hit if they testified against him in the case.

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In December, a Berks County jury convicted Ellis of two felony counts of witness intimidation and one count of obstruction of justice. Monday, he was sentenced to 8.5 to 22 years in a state correctional institution.

“This defendant was willing to use any means necessary to make the charges against him go away,” Attorney General Henry said. “My office stands by this brave witness. This sentence holds the defendant accountable for his threats and intimidations, and serves as a reminder that this type of conduct will not be tolerated in Pennsylvania.”

According to trial testimony, Ellis approached another inmate at Berks County Prison, who was an acquaintance of the witness, and informed him of the $20,000 threat.

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Ellis later used technology available to him inside the prison to video chat with this witness and relay the threat directly.

The investigation into the underlying human trafficking case is ongoing.

This case was investigated by the Pennsylvania State Police Organized Crime Unit and prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney General Erik Olsen.

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