A 31-year-old Atlanta man arrested here in January on sex trafficking charges pleaded not guilty Wednesday in federal court.
U.S. Magistrate Bill Carter set a May 7 trial date for Khari Matthew "King Black" Troutman. He will remain in custody awaiting trial.
Chattanooga police arrested Troutman on Jan. 19 after a Maryland woman called 911 from an Applebee's restaurant bathroom on a borrowed cellphone.
The woman, whose name is not being used in accordance with Times Free Press policy regarding sex crime victims, told police that she had agreed to travel with Troutman and prostitute herself.
The woman said she traveled with Troutman, another man and another woman to Greensboro, N.C., where Troutman took over her backpage.com listings for escort services. The 21-year-old woman took clients at 15-, 30- and 60-minute appointments, charging $80, $100 and $180, respectively.
From there the group worked in Knoxville and then came to Chattanooga.
While here, the woman said, she wanted to leave and Troutman wouldn't let her. She said he assaulted her and held her in their motel room overnight, but she got away the next day when they went to Applebee's.
Troutman told police he knew the woman was working as a prostitute, but he had nothing to do with her and they were simply traveling together.
Hamilton County prosecutors dropped charges against Troutman and turned the case over to federal investigators, where penalties will be more severe if he is convicted.
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 ...