- Associated Press - Monday, January 27, 2014

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Opening arguments are scheduled Tuesday in the trial of a woman charged in Mississippi with helping arrange the unlicensed buttocks injections that prosecutors say killed a Georgia woman in 2012.

A jury of seven men and five women was chosen Monday for the trial of Natasha Stewart, 40, of suburban Memphis, Tenn.

Stewart, an adult entertainer also known as Pebbelz Da Model, has pleaded not guilty to charges including depraved-heart murder in the death of Karima Gordon, 37, of Atlanta.

Stewart, wearing what appeared to be an orange wig with a black-and-white striped dress, did not address the court or potential jurors. But she took notes and spoke to her attorneys during the process.

Prosecutors say Gordon paid Stewart $200 for a referral to the person who administered the injections at a house in Jackson in March 2012.

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.

During jury selection Monday, defense attorney Matthew Eichelberger suggested the case amounted to “bad advice” given by Stewart, who had also received the injections without having an adverse reaction.

Authorities say Gordon died from blood clots in her lungs days after being injected with silicone.

Stewart’s lawyers have declined comment due to a gag order.

Tracey Lynn Garner, a floral and interior designer charged with giving the injections, is scheduled for trial in March on a charge of depraved-heart murder.

Authorities say Stewart falsely presented that Garner was a licensed medical professional. 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 hours after Garner performed the $1,500 procedure. Gordon died days later at a Georgia hospital.


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