Wills still faces charges including trafficking a minor
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas––Contrary to rumor, former Michigan Humane Society president and Humane Society of the U.S. vice president for investigations David K. Wills, 63, is still facing felony charges in Texas of continuous sexual abuse of a child and continuous trafficking of a child.
But Wills is now only facing charges in Nueces and San Patricio counties. Cameron County, the first to file parallel and related cases against him, on March 9, 2016 filed a motion stating “The State dismisses charges without prejudice, pending resolution of charges in Neuces County and San Patricio County and reserves the right to re-indict.”
Re-assignment to county with most jurisdiction?
Superficially, the Cameron County motion would appear to have been a routine matter of re-assigning the case to be heard first in the county with the most jurisdiction.
Normally that would be either the county in which the most alleged offenses occurred, or, if different alleged crimes were charged, the county in which the charges would carry the heaviest penalties on conviction.
Wills is reportedly also charged with human trafficking in Nueces and San Patricio counties, but was apparently not accused of human trafficking in Cameron County.
Facing life in prison?
But the apparent consolidation of the Wills case may involve other issues. One of them is Texas’ “three strikes” law, in effect since 1952, which could have sent Wills to prison for life if he had been convicted of separate felonies in each of three counties.
Wills could also be sent to prison for life if convicted of three separate felonies in the two counties in which he remains charged.
Or Wills could, at least in effect, be sent to prison for life if convicted of any of the felonies for which he is charged in Nueces and San Patricio counties. The human trafficking charges carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in Texas; continuous sexual abuse of a child carries a sentence of 25 to 99 years.
Or beating the rap on “double jeopardy” claim?
Wills, through attorneys Cynthia E. Orr and Gerald H. Goldstein, contends he was improperly charged in multiple counties for the same offense.
Wills holds in a “Motion to Dismiss Indictment for Prosecutorial Misconduct” filed on March 10, 2016 in Nueces County that all of the charges should be dropped.
According to Wills’ petition, Wills had filed a “writ alleging a double jeopardy bar to the charges” in Cameron County. The writ was to have been heard in Cameron County on March 9, 2016.
Then, the petition says, “On the eve of this hearing, the state elected to dismiss the charges in Cameron County, instead of allowing the 404th District Court in Cameron County, Texas to hear that pleading.
“It is obvious that there was prior coordination among the counties in this case,” Wills’ petition continues. “They divided up one continuous sexual assault charge among three counties in precise periods with a few week breaks between them.”
Specifically, the Cameron County charges covered the time from from July 1, 2012 to November 1, 2013; the Nueces County charges cover the time frame from November 15, 2013 to March 2, 2014; and the San Patricio County charges cover from March 22, 2014 to December 31, 2014.
Cases may be divided in that manner to reflect changes of primary residence or place of business where an alleged crime conducted on an ongoing basis is believed to have occurred.
Also, parallel and related cases, involving the same alleged perpetrator(s) and victim(s) may nonetheless involve separate specific alleged offenses.
Little specific information has been released, however, about the locations and timing of the alleged events resulting in charges against Wills.
Claims “hardships of harsh conditions”
Concluded Wills’ “Motion to Dismiss Indictment for Prosecutorial Misconduct,” “The improper multiple charges of a single offense and hardships of harsh conditions of pretrial release have been oppressive and punitive…The blatant forum shopping and spurious bringing of a divided single offense in multiple jurisdictions constitutes prosecutorial misconduct…Wills respectfully prays that this Court dismiss these charges, and for any further relief to which he may be entitled.”
Reported Krista M. Torralva of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, “State District Judge Jose Longoria issued a gag order barring the lawyers in the Nueces County case from commenting.”
Summarized Bart Bedsole of KRIS-TV in November 2015, “Wills and a woman from Brownsville,” Maria Candalaria Losoya, 53, “are accused of forcing a female under the age of 14 to perform a long list of sexual acts including prostitution.”
Elaborated the Brownsville police department web site, “The warrant stemmed from an investigation that was initiated on April 8, 2015 from an outcry made to school officials by the victim. The victim alleged being sexually assaulted for several years by a male identified as David Wills while Losoya watched. Investigators were able to obtain enough evidence to obtain warrants for both.”
Authorities have alleged that the acts began when the victim was nine years old, and that she is believed to be related to Losoya.
Wills was reportedly first arrested on a Cameron County warrant in connection with the case in Rockport, Aransas County, on April 13, 2015.
Arrested at airport after indictment
The Nueces County grand jury indicted Wills on November 19, 2015.
Meanwhile, according to the November 28, 2015 edition of the Coastal Bend Herald, Wills had been held in San Patricio County, but was released on a $150,000 bond and given permission by a San Patricio District Court Judge to leave Texas the state to visit family.
However, the Coastal Bend Herald continued, prosecutors in other counties believed Wills “to be a flight risk, having access to many resources that may allow him to flee the area or even the country.”
Wills on November 23, 2015 was arrested at the Corpus Christi International Airport by the U.S. Marshals Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Task Force.
He was arraigned on the Neuces county charges the following day.
Headed New Hampshire & Michigan humane societies
Wills in 1972 was hired at recommendation of then-Humane Society of the U.S. president John Hoyt to head the New Hampshire Humane Society. Wills reportedly left that position in 1978 just before the board discovered that funds were missing.
Hoyt then recommended Wills to the Michigan Humane Society, where Wills was executive director from 1979 to 1989. Wills resigned from Michigan Humane when the board began inquiring into the disappearance of $1.6 million. Bookkeeper Denise Hopkins was later convicted of embezzling $56,000 of the missing sum.
National Society for Animal Protection
Wills next founded a short-lived entity called the National Society for Animal Protection. He dissolved it in 1991 upon becoming HSUS vice president for investigations. Longtime Michigan Humane Society volunteer and employee Sandra LeBost of Royal Oak, Michigan, in June 1995 won a $42,500 judgment against Wills for non-repayment of loans made to help him start NSAP. She was never able to collect the money.
In August 1995, three HSUS employees sued Wills for alleged sexual harassment and embezzling. Suspended by HSUS soon afterward, Wills was fired in November 1995.
Wills countersued the HSUS employees who sued him. Those cases were settled out of court in mid-1998.
Pleaded guilty to embezzling
In June 1999 Wills pleaded guilty to one count of embezzling $18,900 from HSUS between 1990 and mid-1995; agreed to pay restitution of $67,800 to HSUS; and accepted a six-month jail sentence. HSUS and the State of Maryland agreed to drop six other counts of embezzlement, alleging thefts of $84,128.
Wills resurfaced in 2000-2004 in connection with the International Foundation for the Conservation of Natural Resources, a front for animal use industries.
The top listed IFCNR donor was Darden Restaurants, owners of the Red Lobster and Olive Garden restaurant chains. Red Lobster sales of Canadian snow crabs were at the time under boycott by animal advocates as a pressure tactic in opposition to the Atlantic Canadian seal hunt.
Trappers, whalers, factory farmers
The next three largest IFCNR donors were the National Trappers Association, the International Fur Trade Association, and Monsanto Corporation, the leading maker of bovine somatotropin, a synthetic hormone used to artificially boost the amount of milk given by cows. Other donors included the Japan Whaling Association, the Maryland Trappers Association, Smithfield Foods, and Strauss Veal Company.
Wills’ business relationship with Darden Restaurants continued through a South African venture called SeaArk, which was to supply Red Lobster with farmed white shrimp. According to South African and shrimp industry media accounts, SeaArk spent more than $42 million to develop a shrimp farm that failed without getting beyond “pilot” development.
Wills after the SeaArk failure remained involved in shrimp farming through a project called Global Blue Technologies, based in Rockport, Texas, begun in 2011. Wills acknowledged in 2015 on the GBT web site that the venture had performed below investor expectations.