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January 9, 2013

New details emerge in fatal buttocks injection

JACKSON, Miss. — Court records say the Georgia woman who died after an illegal buttocks implant in Mississippi was told that the procedure would be performed by a medical professional, but authorities and testimony show that it was given by a floral and interior designer with no training or license.

Two people have been charged in the death of 37-year-old Karima Gordon of Atlanta, who had served in the military and wanted to become a model.

Gordon died from blood clots in her lungs a few days after being injected with “a silicone substance” March 16 at a house in Jackson, Miss., authorities say.

The most recent development in the case came this week when Mississippi authorities announced that a second suspect had been arrested.

Natasha Stewart, a model and adult entertainer who goes by the name Pebbelz Da Model, was arrested Jan. 3 in Memphis, Tenn.  

Stewart, 39, is charged with falsely presenting that the person performing the procedure was a “license medical professional.” Stewart was indicted on charges of depraved-heart murder, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Authorities say the victim met Stewart in New York and paid her $200 for a referral to Tracey Lynn Garner, also known as Morris Garner.

Garner was arrested in September. At the time, authorities identified the suspect as Morris Garner, a man. Garner’s lawyer, John Colette, has since said that Garner was born a man but has had procedures to change gender. Hinds County, Miss., jail records now list Garner as a 53-year-old woman.

Garner said during a court hearing in September that she worked as a floral and interior designer. She is charged with depraved-heart murder, a legal term for an action that demonstrates a “callous disregard for human life” and results in death. It carries a life sentence.

Garner has been held without bond in the Hinds County, Miss., jail since her arrest. Her lawyer didn’t immediately respond to a message Tuesday, but has previously said he was shocked by the seriousness of the criminal charge.

Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith said Tuesday that Stewart waived extradition in Tennessee and would be brought back to Mississippi this week. Nobody responded to messages sent to her website.

Smith said the investigation continues and urged others to come forward if Garner performed a similar procedure on them.

In Gordon’s case, authorities say she drove to Mississippi with a friend to have the procedure but became ill a few hours later. Her friend called Garner and asked what to do, and authorities say Garner recommended cough medicine. Gordon died at a Georgia hospital a few days later.

Illegal cosmetic procedures happen sporadically around the country as people seek cheaper alternatives to plastic surgeons. In Florida, a person police say was born a man and identifies as a woman was arrested in 2011 and charged with posing as a doctor and injecting women with cement, mineral oil and flat-tire sealant.

In New Jersey, a woman was charged last year with giving a man a fatal dose of silicone during an enhancement procedure.

———

Associated Press writer Jack Elliott Jr. contributed to this report.

———   

Follow Mohr at http://twitter.com/holbrookmohr

 

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