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Mistrial for woman accused of luring young girls to have sex with construction workers

Matthew Lane • Aug 22, 2014 at 5:42 PM

GREENEVILLE -- The trial of a Johnson City woman charged with enticing underage girls to have sex with construction workers has ended in a mistrial.

Mellisa Roper and Jerry Johnson, both of Johnson City, and Tracy Lynn Marziani of Bristol, Va., were indicted in U.S. District Court in Greeneville in October 2013. The three-count indictment charges the trio with conspiracy, inducing and transporting minors across state lines for prostitution.

Marziani, who drove the two girls to have sex with the workers, agreed to plead guilty in April to the conspiracy charge; Johnson agreed to plead guilty to the same charge in May.

Both face a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Marziani is scheduled for sentencing Oct. 16; Johnson on Oct. 18.

Roper's trial took place on Aug. 12 and following two days of jury deliberations, the jury announced a mistrial. A new trial has been scheduled for Oct. 7.

According to plea agreements, Johnson drove Roper to a Motel 6 in Johnson City on June 18, 2013, where Roper introduced herself to some construction workers who were temporarily housed there.

Prosecutors say Roper "chatted up" the workers and promised to bring them some girls a few days later to "party" with.

Three days later, Marziani and Johnson met one of the female teens at Marziani's apartment in Bristol, Va., then the three drove to a local fast food restaurant, where they met another female teen. Both teens were under the age of 18, prosecutors say.

Court records state all four then went to Roper's home in Johnson City, along the way advising the two teens about prostitution, what rates to charge and explaining how Johnson was allegedly a pimp.

Prosecutors say Johnson then drove the teens to the Motel 6, introducing them to the construction workers, who in turn provided the girls with alcohol and marijuana.

According to the plea agreement, Marziani arranged for one of the two girls to perform oral sex on one of the construction workers for $100. Marziani received a portion of the $100, court records state.

Johnson City police arrived at the Motel 6 after midnight and arrested Marziani.

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