- Associated Press - Thursday, January 30, 2014

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Prosecutors rested their case Thursday in the depraved-heart murder trial of a woman charged with helping arrange the silicone buttocks injections that authorities say killed another woman.

Defense lawyer Kevin Camp told the court that he will call two or three witnesses on Friday in the trial of Natasha Stewart, 40, of suburban Memphis, Tenn.

Authorities say Stewart, an adult entertainer also known as Pebbelz Da Model, took $200 for a referral to the alleged injector and falsely represented that the injector was a nurse.

Prosecutors say Karima Gordon, 37, of Atlanta became sick soon after being injected with silicone at a house in Jackson, Miss., and died in a Georgia hospital a few days later in March 2012.

At the conclusion of the state’s case, Camp asked Hinds County Circuit Court Judge Bill Gowan to dismiss the charges, arguing that prosecutors did not prove the allegations. Gowan denied the request.

Camp said in opening statements Wednesday that his client had gotten similar injections from the same woman more than 10 times and that Stewart didn’t know they could cause serious harm.

Stewart is charged with depraved-heart murder, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Depraved-heart murder is a legal term for an action that demonstrates a “callous disregard for human life” and results in death. It carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Gordon’s friend, Anglean (AN-juh-lene) Barber, testified Thursday 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 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.

In arguing for the charges to be dismissed, Camp said outside the presence of the jury that “nobody thought you would die from this.”

Garner is charged with depraved-heart murder in the deaths of Gordon and another woman, Marilyn Hale of Selma, Ala.

Her trial is scheduled for March.

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