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Rant leads to $1.5M bond for Spring Lake man charged with human trafficking

Posted March 19, 2015

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— A Spring Lake man accused of confining a woman in his basement and forcing her to have sex with strangers for money had his bond increased during his first court appearance on Thursday.

Robin Triovel Applewhite, 38, of the 300 block of Cedarwood Street, had his bond increased to $1.5 million. Cumberland County District Attorney Bill West argued the high bond was due to Applewhite being a flight risk and a habitual felon who was awaiting trial on another felony charge.

Applewhite's bond was originally increased from $250,000 to $1 million, but that was before he went on a two minute rant.

"This is not right," he said before District Court Judge Lou Olivera. "I mean, I got a long record, a mile long, 20 miles long. But guess what? I didn't do this judge. And I tell you (district attorney), I didn't do this. I tell the camera man, I tell everybody in this courtroom, I didn't do this. That's all I got to say."

But Applewhite wasn't done.

"If I'm guilty of anything your honor, it's saving the victim from her pimp in a dangerous situation," he continued. "I brought her into my home with my wife and my family."

His wife, Samantha, said the increased bond was unfair.

"My husband is not guilty," she said after her husband's court appearance. "And I will be in every court proceeding and I will make sure that he has everything he needs until this is all thrown out. And then you know what I want? I want a retraction."

Applewhite has a long criminal history, including a July 2013 arrest in Jacksonville for kidnapping a woman and forcing her into prostitution. Those charges were later dismissed. His wife was also charged in that case, and her charges were also dropped.

Applewhite was arrested and charged Wednesday with human trafficking, second-degree kidnapping and sexual servitude.

Spring Lake police said Applewhite picked up a woman in Fayetteville and took her back to his home, where he allegedly gave her illegal drugs and locked her in the basement along with two other women who said they were not held against their will.

For several days, the woman was taken to hotels in Charlotte and Raleigh and forced to have sex for money, investigators said. She then was taken back to the home and locked in the basement.

Investigators said the woman managed to escape early Wednesday by prying open the basement door. She ran until she reached the main gate at Fort Bragg. Military police contacted Fayetteville police, who turned the case over to Spring Lake detectives.

Additional charges are expected, investigators said.


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