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Trial opens today in buttocks injection case


Holbrook Mohr/The Associated Press



JACKSON -- The trial of a woman charged with helping arrange the unlicensed buttocks injections that prosecutors say killed a Georgia woman in 2012 is scheduled to begin Monday in Jackson. 


Adult entertainer Natasha Stewart, also known as Pebbelz Da Model, is charged with depraved-heart murder and other counts in the death of 37-year-old Karima Gordon of Atlanta. 


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. 


Prosecutors say Gordon paid Stewart $200 for referring her to the person suspected of administering the injections. Authorities say Gordon died from blood clots in her lungs days after being injected with a silicone-type substance. 


Stewart, 40, of suburban Memphis, has pleaded not guilty and faces trial in Hinds County Circuit Court. Her lawyers have declined to comment due to a gag order issued by the judge. 


Authorities said she falsely presented the person performing the procedure as a licensed medical professional. 


That person, Tracey Lynn Garner, is charged with giving the injections and is scheduled for trial in March, also on depraved-heart murder charges. Garner also is charged in the 2010 death of Marilyn Hale of Selma, Ala., who authorities say died from similar injections. 


Authorities initially identified Garner as a man, Morris Garner, but her attorney said Garner, who was born male, had sex reassignment surgery. Garner's lawyers also have declined to comment on the case due to the gag order. 


Authorities said Gordon became ill just a few hours after Garner performed the $1,500 procedure in March 2012. A friend of Gordon's who drove to the Jackson, Miss., home with her for the injections, called Garner and asked what to do. According to authorities, Garner recommended that Gordon take cough medicine. Gordon died days later at a Georgia hospital. 


Garner has pleaded not guilty and is free on bond.




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