A 28-year-old Bessemer man has been arrested for the third time in eight months on charges that he posed as a woman and used Facebook to lure teen boys for sex.
Bessemer police lodged 11 more felony charges against Venderius Holyfield after three more teen boys and their parents notified police of new incidents alleging deception and sexual misconduct by Holyfield.
Holyfield, who twice has been released after being charged with sex crimes against teen boys, was rearrested April 28. At the request of lawmen and prosecutors, a Jefferson County judge has revoked his bond on the 2016 charges because of his additional charges.
"He's a true predator,'' said Bessemer police Sgt. Cortice Miles.
Tarrant police in September 2016 charged Holyfield with the crimes of attempted sodomy, enticing a child for immoral purposes and traveling to meet a child for an unlawful sex act. The incident happened Aug. 17, 2016. Police were called to the parking lot of a Tarrant store on a report of a suspicious vehicle. Holyfield and a 15-year-old boy were inside the vehicle. Another teen boy, believed to be the victim's brother, jumped out of the back seat and fled when officers arrived.
Holyfield, police said, used the Facebook name Jalisa Smith with a profile picture of a woman. He lured the teen boy by promising him he would perform oral sex on the boy, Tarrant police detective Sgt. Phillip George told AL.com.
Venderius Holyfield, 35, is charged with attempted sodomy, enticing a child for immoral purposes and traveling to meet a child for an unlawful sex act.
Holyfield told the boy he would be wrapped in a blanket, using the excuse that he had previously been videotaped and didn't want that to happen again. In reality, George said, Holyfield was trying to disguise the fact that he was a man.
It was only after the officers removed Holyfield's blanket that his intended victim, as well as police, learned he was male.
A Jefferson County grand jury agreed with Tarrant police on the charges and issued indictments on May 5 against Holyfield in those three cases, according to court records made public Tuesday.
Earlier this year, Holyfield was arrested again - this time by Bessemer police - for an incident they say happened late last year. On Nov. 7, about 8:45 a.m., Bessemer police responded to the area of Fairfax Avenue and 22nd Street on a juvenile-related call. When they arrived on the scene, they found a 16-year-old boy who told officers he jumped out of a moving vehicle. He had visible abrasions to his right arm, hand, and elbow, Bessemer's Miles said.
The victim told investigators that he met a stranger on Facebook about three days earlier, and they had been messaging each other on Facebook during those days. The teen said he had agreed to meet the stranger at a Bessemer church on the south side. The stranger, later identified as Holyfield - picked the juvenile up and drove off.
During the drive, Miles said, Holyfield made sexually suggestive comments to the juvenile. The teen told police he jumped out of the moving vehicle when Holyfield refused to stop the vehicle and let him out.
On Feb. 8, 2017, as a result of further investigation, detectives were able to charge Holyfield with the two new felonies. He was arrested March 18, and was released the same day on $45,000 bond.
Miles said Tuesday that Bessemer police received multiple new complaints against Holyfield. The reported incidents happened between March 24 and April 6, and involved three boys. Two of them are 14 years old, and one is 13. "It's pretty much the same MO,'' Miles said. "He meets them over Facebook using a female alias, lures them to a parking lot, and, you know..."
The new charges against him are: four counts of second-degree sodomy, three counts of electronic solicitation of a child, three counts of enticing a child for immoral purposes, and one of traveling to meet a child for a sex act.
He is set to make his first court appearance on the new charges early in June.
"He's still in jail thankfully,'' Miles said. "If he gets out, he'll do it again. They're going to have to lock him up and not let him out."