JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A woman who prosecutors say died from illicit silicone injections in her buttocks in 2012 hoped to become a hip-hop model, her friend testified Thursday in a depraved-heart murder trial.
The testimony came in Jackson, Miss., in the trial of Natasha Stewart of suburban Memphis, Tenn.
Stewart, an adult entertainer also known as Pebbelz Da Model, has pleaded not guilty in the death of Karima Gordon of Atlanta.
Prosecutors say Gordon paid Stewart $200 for a referral to the person who administered silicone injections to Gordon's buttocks in Jackson in 2012. She died days later.
Anglean Barber testified that she and Gordon flew to New York to meet Stewart in February 2012 and that Stewart later referred them to the injector, Tracey Lynn Garner.
Barber said she and Gordon were fans of Stewart and wanted the same kind of buttocks enhancement that Stewart had gotten.
"We wanted to be urban models in the hip-hop industry," Barber testified.
Barber said she and Gordon drove to Garner's house in Jackson on March 16, 2012, and both planned to get the injections. Barber said she was unsettled by the appearance of Garner, who was a man before having gender reassignment surgery, and decided not to get the injections. Barber said Gordon got sick soon after getting the shots.
A doctor testified Thursday that Gordon died a painful death in a Georgia hospital on March 24, 2012, of silicone embolism in her lungs.
Barber said Stewart told them falsely that Garner was a nurse. And after Gordon got sick, Barber said Stewart told her not to tell doctors about the injections.
Defense lawyer Kevin Camp said in opening statements Wednesday that Garner had given similar injections to his client more than 10 times and that Stewart didn't know they could cause serious harm.
"She's not guilty of all these charges," Camp told the jury in Hinds County Circuit Court.
The charge of depraved-heart murder, a legal term for an action that demonstrates a "callous disregard for human life" and results in death, carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. Stewart also faces charges of wire fraud, conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Garner is charged with depraved-heart murder in the deaths of Gordon and another woman, Marilyn Hale of Selma, Ala.
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