Online prostitution case dissolves with no-show

The case against a man and woman arrested in South San Francisco and accused of pimping prostitutes on the popular Web site Craigslist dissolved Monday after the key witness against the pair failed to show up in court for the second time.

Sacramento resident Tomisha McKinnie, who faced a felony charge of pimping and pandering, was allowed to leave court immediately. The dropped charges came on McKinnie’s 20th birthday, according to her public defender, Christine Bogosian.

“It was the best birthday present she could have gotten,” Bogosian said. McKinnie, a slight young woman wearing a lip ring and carrying a SpongeBob SquarePants backpack, is the stay-at-home mother of a 10-month-old son, Bogosian said.

McKinnie was accused of pimping an adult woman whom prosecutors had identified as their key witness against both McKinnie and her co-defendent, Andrew Stigall. Stigall, 22, had been charged with two counts of pimping minors. His alleged victims were two 17-year-old girls.

But the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office dropped the charges after the witness ignored both a subpoena and a warrant issued for her arrest.

“We’ve been really trying hard to procure her attendance. It’s frustrating,” said Deputy District Attorney Rebecca Baum, who prosecuted the case. “Obviously we thought this was a serious crime.”

Stigall and McKinney were arrested March 27 at the Comfort Suites in South San Francisco after South San Francisco police responded to prostitution advertisements on Craigslist and set up sting operations in two rooms, according to prosecutors. McKinnie and Stigall were allegedly found in the rooms with the prostitutes.

tbarak@examiner.com

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