published Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Federal grand jury gets sex trafficking case

A federal judge has sent sex trafficking charges against an Atlanta man to the grand jury after his January arrest here.

Khari Matthew "King Black" Troutman, 31, entered U.S. Magistrate Bill Carter's courtroom in a yellow jumpsuit and shackles Wednesday afternoon.

Troutman was arrested by Chattanooga police Jan. 19 when a woman in an Applebee's restaurant near Shallowford Road borrowed a cellphone and called police.

The 21-year-old woman told investigators that she had agreed to travel with Troutman from Silver Spring, Md., and prostitute herself using the website backpage.com for advertising. She said Troutman beat her and wouldn't let her leave.

The woman had worked as a prostitute on and off since age 17 and had used the website herself, FBI Agent Leane Blevins testified. But during the trip with Troutman he took over advertising her on the website.

She took clients at 15-, 30- and 60-minute appointments, charging $80, $100 and $180, respectively.

She said she gave Troutman her money and he agreed to take her home for a meeting with her two children, who were in foster care, after a week on the road.

Blevins testified that Troutman denied any involvement in the woman's prostitution and said he simply was traveling with her, a male friend he called "Killa" and two other female friends.

Blevins testified in Troutman's preliminary hearing that she and a Chattanooga detective corroborated the woman's claims by reviewing both Troutman's and the victim's phones.

The woman said the group traveled to Greensboro, N.C., then to Knoxville and Chattanooga. She said Troutman became threatening in Knoxville when she reminded him she had to return home in a few days.

When she tried to leave Chattanooga's Microtel Inn on Jan. 18, Troutman stopped her and slapped her face repeatedly, told her she couldn't go and said he'd "beat the [expletive deleted] out of her."

The woman called police the next day.

Blevins said the woman didn't count her clients, but by counting the number of condoms left in her purse she said she'd had intercourse with 32 men between Greensboro and Chattanooga.

She left Maryland with 36 condoms, used one with Troutman and had three remaining in her purse, Blevins testified.

State prosecutors dropped charges against Troutman on Tuesday when the woman failed to show up for a preliminary hearing.

Prosecutor Neal Pinkston told the judge that she had been staying at a halfway house but had left and his office hadn't been able to contact her.

The grand jury is scheduled to meet Feb. 26. Troutman's case is scheduled for another hearing the next day.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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