To hear Natasha Stewart tell it, she was just trying to help an insecure woman when she helped arrange for her to get silicone injections in her buttocks, shots that prosecutors say were deadly. A jury disagreed, convicting Stewart on Friday of culpable negligence manslaughter.
Stewart, of suburban Memphis, Tenn., was found guilty Friday in Jackson, Miss., in the death of 37-year-old Karima Gordon of Atlanta.
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.
Stewart testified Friday that Gordon was insecure about her body and wanted help fixing previously botched buttocks enhancements. Stewart said she connected Gordon with the woman performing the injections to help her out, not for money, but she said Gordon insisted on paying her.
Stewart had been charged with "depraved-heart" murder, defined as a "callous disregard for human life" resulting in death, which carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. She also had been charged with conspiracy to commit depraved-heart murder.
Jurors decided to go with the option they had been given to convict Stewart of the lesser charge. They also found her guilty of conspiracy to commit culpable negligence manslaughter. She faces up to 20 years in prison for each charge. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
Stewart, wearing what appeared to be an orange wig, showed little emotion immediately after the verdict was read. She was found not guilty on the charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Stewart had testified that she thought the woman performing the injections at a Jackson house was indeed a registered nurse and had gotten the injections herself more than 20 times over seven years.
"She told me that she was an RN," Stewart testified.
But Patrick Beasley, a prosecutor with the Mississippi attorney general's office, said someone would have to be "dumb" not to know Garner wasn't a nurse when she used veterinary syringes and sealed the injection sites with cotton balls and glue.
Prosecutors say Gordon died from silicone embolism in her lungs about a week after getting the shots in March 2012.
Tracey Lynn Garner, the one suspected of administering the injections, is charged with depraved-heart murder in the deaths of Gordon and another woman, Marilyn Hale of Selma, Ala. She has pleaded not guilty. Her trial is scheduled for March.
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(Photo: AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)