A man who prosecutors say kidnapped women at gunpoint, forced them into prostitution and shaved their heads and raped them as a form of punishment was sentenced to 287 years to life in prison.

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A man who prosecutors say kidnapped women at gunpoint, forced them into prostitution and shaved their heads and raped them as a form of punishment was sentenced to 287 years to life in prison. 
Derrick Harper, who was convicted of conspiracy, human trafficking, and several other offenses in one case — and murdering a man in another — was sent to San Quentin prison last month. The way the sentence is written, Harper will be eligible for parole after he serves 287 years in prison. 
Harper, 39, was originally charged in 2013 for his involvement in what prosecutors described as the worst human trafficking case in Pittsburg’s history. His co-defendants, Eric Beman and Roy Gordon, have accepted plea deals, but haven’t yet been sentenced. Beman is looking at a maximum of 32 years, and Gordon could get a sentence similar to Harper’s, as he is a three-strikes defendant, records show.
Earlier this year, a jury convicted Harper in the human trafficking case. Then, in August, he was convicted of a special circumstances murder and robbery, in the killing of 35-year-old Jesse Saucedo. Jurors hung on similar charges against his co-defendant in that case, Joseph Bradshaw, leaning heavily toward acquittal. Prosecutors have moved to re-try Bradshaw.
Senior deputy district attorney Mary Knox praised the women who testified against Harper, many former sex workers, about the “sadistic depravity” they’d witnessed firsthand. She said Pittsburg police deserve credit too, for making human trafficking investigations a priority. 
“These women were determined not to continue to be victimized and deserve to be commended for their strength and bravery in coming forward,” Knox said, adding they helped Harper’s “reign of terror” in Contra Costa to an end.

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