A 31-year-old Atlanta man's first felony conviction in a multistate prostitution operation sent him to prison for more than two years Monday.
Khari Matthew "King Black" Troutman first deflected some of his guilt but quickly apologized and accepted responsibility for transporting a 21-year-old Baltimore woman from Maryland to Tennessee while she prostituted herself through advertisements on the website backpage.com.
"You held someone against their will. We call that kidnapping. That's a pretty serious offense," U.S. District Judge Harry S. "Sandy" Mattice told Troutman at his sentencing hearing.
"I didn't hold her against her will, but that's another story," Troutman replied.
He then said he worries about what he did nightly and apologized.
Mattice sentenced Troutman to two years and three months in prison along with two years supervised release after the man pleaded guilty to transporting a person across state lines for the purpose of prostitution.
The woman, who is not being identified in accordance with Times Free Press policy, was not in court Monday.
This story is featured in today's TimesFreePress newscast.
The Baltimore woman told police that she and Troutman made a deal at a Silver Spring, Md., hotel in January that she would go on a road trip with him acting as her pimp but that she needed to return in about a week.
The pair, along with another man and woman who were not charged in the investigation, traveled from Maryland, first to Greensboro, N.C., then to Knoxville and finally Chattanooga where she offered her services on the website backpage.com.
She took clients at 15-, 30- and 60-minute intervals for $80, $100 and $180, respectively, at the locations, according to court records.
But during the trip Troutman took control of her web page. While in Chattanooga she told Troutman she wanted to return home to see her children. She told authorities he beat her and made her stay in the Microtel Hotel near Shallowford Road. She later complained that she needed to eat.
He allowed her to go to an Applebee's restaurant near the hotel where she was able to use a borrowed cellphone in the restroom to call 911.
Troutman was arrested on Jan. 19 and charged with domestic assault, kidnapping and promoting prostitution.
Because the charges involved interstate travel, the U.S. attorney's office took the case to federal court, where Troutman faced stiffer penalties.
Troutman pleaded not guilty but later changed his plea to guilty on the charge of transporting a person across state lines for the purposes of prostitution. The remaining federal charge of coercion or enticement of a female was dismissed by prosecutor Jay Woods as part of Troutman's plea agreement.
Contact staff writer Todd South at 423-757-6347 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @tsouthCTFP.