Published Tuesday, January 08, 2013
BY HOLBROOK MOHR
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – 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.
Authorities say Gordon 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 a penile enhancement procedure.
Associated Press writer Jack Elliott Jr. contributed to this report.
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