A woman accused of loitering for purpose of prostitution near North Lumpkin Road told Columbus Recorder’s Court Judge Michael Cielinski she was there waiting on a ride.
Erika Yolanda Elias, 34, pleaded guilty to the charge along with one count of giving false information. She was ordered to serve a total of 50 days in the Muscogee County Jail or pay fines totaling $700.
Her case was bound over to State Court.
Columbus Police Officer Ryan Vardman said he was in an area near North Lumpkin Road where prostitutes frequent when he noticed Elias loitering behind a trailer park around 9:45 a.m. Thursday.
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Vardman said Elias has been arrested on prostitution charges at that same location at least twice before. When he questioned her, she allegedly identified herself as “Stephanie Elias” and gave a false date of birth.
She was taken into custody at the scene.
In court, Elias admitted to giving false information for fear of being arrested but denied any intent to serve as a prostitute. She said she was there waiting on a ride.
“I was really not prostituting, but he said I was prostituting,” Elias testified. “That means I can’t stand anywhere ... I can’t even stand there and wait on a ride.”
Cielinski then asked her why she gave a false name to the officer.
“I didn’t want to go to jail, so I gave them a false name,” she responded. “I’m trying to change my life and you can’t change your life, because you got people who just want to ride around and randomly take people to jail for nothing.”
The judge then reminded her that she pleaded guilty to the charges.
“Let’s be honest judge, I really don’t have time to just argue with y’all,” the defendant said. “I’m wrong if I’m right. If I’m right, I’m still wrong.”