Cameron Joseph Jones, 27, listens in Superior Court in Santa Maria Thursday as he is sentenced to more than nine years in prison in a sex-trafficking case.  (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

Saying the victim was “particularly vulnerable even for a juvenile,” a Santa Maria Superior Court judge on Thursday sentenced two men to more than nine years in state prison for human-trafficking and other sexual crimes involving a teenage girl. 

Judge John McGregor handed down the sentence to Humberto Javier Carranza, 24, and Cameron Joseph Jones, 27, after hearing victim-witness statements from the girl, her sister and her mother.

A jury found the men guilty in May after a trial for multiple charges connected to the runaway girl working as a prostitute in Santa Maria and having sexual relationships with the defendants in October 2015.

“I have so many mixed emotions,” the girl told the court Thursday. “Some are good, some are bad, some I just don’t understand.”

She said she was “too vulnerable and too scared” to say no, and pretended she enjoyed the sex.

“At the end of it, it scared me. All I wanted was love,” she said. 

She also read a poem she wrote for anyone who has hurt me “from the time I was two until now.”

“I really do just wish the best for you guys,” she told the defendants. 

When her daughter went missing, the girl’s mom said, it was the worst day of her life and she promised to keep looking for her.

Once her daughter was found, the girl said the men saw the missing posters hanging around town but had cut her hair and planned to leave town with her.

“She told me about gathering the cut hair into a pile and sobbing over it because she hated the way it looked,” the mom said. “While she was telling me this, I realized how close we came to never seeing her again.”

“These men manipulated and abused my daughter,” the mom added. “Her thoughts and feelings are so confused that she believes she is responsible for all of this. It will take years of therapy to help her see the reality of the situation.”

She also expressed appreciation to the Santa Maria police detectives for rescuing the girl, and to the North County Rape Crisis and Child Protection Center, Resiliency Interventions for Sexual Exploitation (RISE) Project, and others working “to bring healthy and healing to my daughter.

Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Karapetian noted the Probation Department recommended the maximum sentence of 14 years and eight months, and suggested the judge follow the suggestion.

“It will have a long-lasting impact on her life in ways that aren’t imaginable,” Karapetian said. “She was definitely exploited in the worst possible way by two grown men.”

Defense attorney Michael Scott noted the District Attorney’s Office earlier suggested an 8-year sentence and said the question hinges on what would be fair and just.

“In my view, the Probation (Department) recommendation of basically the max is absurd,” Scott said. 

Carranza, who has no significant criminal history, cooperated with law enforcement and seems to be “truly remorseful,” Scott said, seeking a lower sentence of five years.

Jones was represented by Billy Redell, who said his client’s role was “far less” than Carranza’s.

Additionally, his client did not know the girl was underage, Redell said.

The judge noted the aggravating and mitigating factors were substantially similar for the two defendants. 

The jury found both men guilty of one count each of human trafficking of a minor and pimping a minor.  

But the panel made up of nine women and three men only found Carranza guilty of pandering while deeming Jones not guilty of that charge.

They also were found guilty of two counts each of oral copulation with a minor child and unlawful sexual intercourse stemming from their actions in October 2015.

The man are expected to served 50 percent of the nine year, four month sentence, but also must register as sex offenders.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at jscully@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.