An FBI agent testified Wednesday that a prostitute told her she did better business in Chattanooga than Greensboro or Knoxville.
Agt. Leane Blevins said she interviewed Iesha Ornelas in the case against Khari Troutman, who police say was her pimp. Troutman was first facing state charges, but they were dismissed and he is now in Federal Court. He appeared for a preliminary hearing before Federal Magistrate Court Judge Bill Carter. Troutman, who is from Decatur, Ga., remains in jail.
Agt. Blevins said she interviewed Ms. Ornelas after Troutman was arrested at Applebees on Shallowford Village Drive on Jan. 19.
She said Ms. Ornelas had been trying to get away from Troutman and she went into the bathroom at the restaurant, borrowed a cellphone and called 911. Police quickly arrived and took him into custody.
The agent said Ms. Ornelas said she had met Troutman at a motel at Silver Spring, Md., about a week and a half earlier and agreed to travel with him to North Carolina and work for him as a prostitute. She said she had worked earlier as a prostitute.
She said a companion had left her at a motel and Troutman walked up and invited her to his room. She said he was traveling with a man called Killa and with two other prostitutes - a white female and a black female. The woman said she agreed to go along with the group, but told Troutman she needed to be back by the following Thursday to have visitation with her two young sons.
Agt. Blevins said Ms. Ornelas stated that Troutman put ads for her services on Backpage.com in Greensboro, then later Knoxville and then Chattanooga, where they set up camp at the Microtel.
She said the arrangement was "all in" with Troutman - she gave him all that she earned and he took care of expenses. She said the charge for her sexual services was $80 for 15 minutes, $100 for 30 minutes and $180 for an hour.
The woman said she could figure how many customers she had by counting the number of condoms she had left after starting out with 36. She said there were three left, and she said one was used when she had sex with Troutman.
She said in Greensboro and Knoxville "business was light," but it got better in Chattanooga.
But she said she decided to go back on her own when she saw Troutman was not going to take her as promised. She said when she tried to leave he roughed her up, causing visible bruises on her face.
Agt. Blevins said witnesses at Applebees said Ms. Ornelas was dressed in pajamas and slippers and was bruised up.
She said Troutman said the group was sight-seeing. He said he knew that Ms. Ornelas was a prostitute, but that he was not involved in that activity.