Meet Alexis Martin
Alexis, or as she likes to be called Ke due to her middle name Ke’Erica, Martin is now a 22 year old woman who has experienced double victimization. Alexis was a victim of sex trafficking, and yet she was charged with the murder of her trafficker. She spent years in prison, but she is now out on parole. However, she should not even be on parole since she was the victim.
Ke grew up in Akron, Ohio with her older sister and younger brother and sister. She had many issues growing up. Her mother was involved with drugs and had gone to prison for drug trafficking. Alexis was also molested by her stepfather when she was young. She was also raped from the age of 9 until 11 years old. Her rapist had even gone to court and there was DNA evidence that this man had raped her, but her rapist was found not guilty. This diminished Alexis’s faith in the judicial system.
Eventually, Alexis met her trafficker named Angelo Kerney in 2006. When Ke was 14, Kerney began trafficking her. This went on for over a year, and Ke had said in an interview that she realized she was being trafficked by Kerney when he told her she could not go to school anymore because she wasn’t making money. At the age of 15, Alexis reached out to her friends for help. In 2013, two of her friends had staged a robbery so Alexis could escape. While the robbery was taking place, Ke was being raped by Kerney’s brother. During the robbery attempt, Kerney was shot and killed. He was 35 at the time of his death and Alexis was 15. As a result of Kerney’s death Alexis was charged with his murder.
During the trial, it was argued that Alexis had helped plan the robbery and was therefore responsible for the murder. The court then ruled that there was not enough evidence to prove that Kerney’s death was related to Ke being a victim of human trafficking. She ended up being tried as an adult, which carries a sentence of life in prison in Ohio. Ke pled guilty to the charge and was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 21 years served. Her current attorneys had tried to appeal the case to the Ohio State Supreme Court, which sadly did not work. According to the attorneys, the state had even said that Alexis had been engaging in adult sexual enterprises when she was 15 years old.
It is tragic that Alexis had to spend even one day in prison. Especially since there were laws in place at the time of the trial that could have helped Ke. The Safe Harbor Laws were in place in Ohio in 2012, so they were new at the time of Alexis’s trial. However, these laws would have helped her. Safe Harbor Laws state that a child under 18 years old that is forced into providing commerical sex is a victim of sex trafficking. These laws vary in different states. Some states provide victims with legal immunity, so they cannot be prosecuted for certain crimes they were forced to commit due to these circumstances but Ohio is not one of these states.
The Safe Harbor Laws also can provide victims with specialized service programs and the charges can be dismissed or vacated. These services include medical and psychological treatment, emergency and long term housing, education assistance, job training, language assistance and legal services. Ohio is a state that directs victims to service programs, which could have been done in Ke’s case. According to Ke’s attorney, if Safe Harbor Laws had been applied in Alexis’s case she would have been tried as a juvenile and released by the time she was 21 years old.
Due to media attention and celebrity activism, most notably from Kim Kardashian West, Alexis got released from prison in 2020 when she was 22 years old. The Governor of Ohio granted Alexis clemency after spending 6 years in prison. Alexis has to live in a group home setting currently. During her time in prison, Ke got her GED and became a certified dog trainer. She also ran a group in prison for victims of human trafficking. However, Ke’s fight is not over. Even though she is out of prison, she is still on parole and will be until 2034. The conditions of her parole include; wearing an ankle monitor, not being able to leave the state of Ohio, going to therapy and anger management, as well as not being able to contact anyone who is also on parole. This means she cannot talk to members of her own family, even on the phone, since some of them are also on parole. Ke also had a mentor while she was in prison who she cannot contact due to the terms of her parole. The Ohio Justice and Policy Center is trying to establish that during Alexis’s trial she had ineffective counsel.
Ke has said in interviews she wants to be able to travel and get a degree in business. She currently has a gofundme set up to help her save for college, a car, and an apartment that she could live in when she is able to. Here is the link to her gofundme: https://www.gofundme.com/f/gxes23-alexis-keerica-martin-support-fund?utm_source=customer&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet&utm_medium=copy_link_all.
Yours Truly in the Fight,