Man arrested again in trafficking attempt
Two men who allegedly threatened to kill a 22-year-old Seattle woman, or force her to prostitute for them in Las Vegas, have been charged with first-degree kidnapping, second-degree robbery and attempted human-trafficking. Randy Stevens, who was arrested and released from jail last week, was rebooked on Wednesday on $500,000 bail. His co-defendant, Tariq Shabazz, remains at large.
Seattle Times staff reporter
In November 2011, a 22-year-old woman threw herself from a moving vehicle in Seattle's South Lake Union neighborhood to escape from two strangers who had threatened to kill her or take her to Las Vegas to prostitute for them, according to King County prosecutors.
The Seattle woman, now 23, suffered a serious head injury and spent weeks at Harborview Medical Center.
The investigation into the case took months, but prosecutors charged two men Dec. 19 with first-degree kidnapping, second-degree robbery and attempted human-trafficking.
One of the suspects, Randy Stevens, 28, of Federal Way, was arrested Jan. 2, but was released from jail later that day because the original police report did not detail how detectives had identified him as a suspect. According to court records, he was ordered to report to the King County Jail on Jan. 16 for work release, a program that allows defendants to go to work but requires them to spend nights in jail.
But on Wednesday, Senior King County Deputy Prosecutor Valiant Richey filed a supplemental police report with the court, outlining how detectives used phone records to identify Stevens as a suspect in the case. Superior Court Judge Theresa Doyle ordered Stevens back into custody and reinstated his $500,000 bail over the objections of his defense attorney, Evgeniya Mordekhova.
The second suspect, 28-year-old Tariq Shabazz, remains at large and is wanted on a $500,000 warrant. Shabazz, whose last known address is in Hayward, Calif., left the state soon after the incident, according to prosecutors. According to charging documents, the victim finished work at a South Lake Union restaurant on Nov. 18, 2011, and accompanied some co-workers to a Pioneer Square bar. She would later tell a Seattle police detective that she remembered entering the bar but could recall nothing more of the night before waking up the next day on the floor of an abandoned apartment in Seattle's Rainier Valley, charging papers say.
When she woke up, a man who would later be identified by police as Shabazz refused to return the woman's cellphone to her and accused her of stealing $1,500 from him, according to a search warrant filed in September. He then phoned another woman, a suspected prostitute, who arrived at the apartment and drove Shabazz and the woman into downtown Seattle, the warrant and charging papers say.
During the car ride, Shabazz told the 22-year-old woman he planned to take her to Las Vegas "to earn him money," the papers say.
After making a couple of stops, the trio picked up a man, later identified by police as Stevens, at a convenience store in Fremont, according to charging papers.
Stevens took the keys, passport, driver's license, debit card and cash from the purse of the victim, who was squeezed between the two men in the back of the vehicle, then ordered her to call her bank to verify funds in her account, the papers say. The female driver then drove to a drugstore on Queen Anne Avenue North where Shabazz instructed her to make copies of the victim's keys, charging papers say.
While the men waited, they discussed how much the woman already knew, what they were going to do with her and whether they were going to make the woman prostitute for them, according to charging papers. Stevens pulled a knife, held it to the woman's throat and told her, "we need to start getting some answers right now or we're gonna find a solution and put you under the ground," the papers say.
Once the driver returned to the vehicle, the men told the victim to direct them to where she lived; the woman, fearing for her life, complied, the charging papers say. Near the south end of Lake Union, Stevens ordered the driver to stop "and he suddenly exited the vehicle and walked away," the papers say.
Moments later, the woman leapt from the moving vehicle, striking the back of her head on the pavement, charging papers say. Shabazz and the driver fled, and the woman was taken by medics to Harborview, where she was hospitalized in critical condition with severe brain trauma for several weeks, the papers say.
She was later able to direct detectives to the apartment where she had woken up, which had been previously rented by Shabazz, charging papers say. Shabazz's phone records led police to identify both the female driver, who hasn't been charged in the case, and Stevens, the papers say.
Sara Jean Green: 206-515-5654 or email@example.com