An alleged human-trafficker in the US is facing more than 200 years in prison after he was accused of holding eight women he referred to as his “diamond kitties” captive.
Kenndric Roberts, 33, lured the women online to a rented $1m (£800,000) home in Atlanta, Georgia, with the promise of modelling work.
But police said that the alleged gang member instead made the women work at strip clubs while pocketing their earnings – and threatened to kill or mutilate them if they fled.
According to NBC News, police reported a claim by one woman that Kendrick had threatened her on numerous occasions including one instance “where he stated he was going to pay someone to cut her chest open, take out the implants and cut her up”.
Mike Maloof, for Mr Roberts, told a court his client was a “poor man’s Hugh Hefner” and that the women had not been forced to stay, NBC reported.
He told reporters: “If you felt threatened, why didn’t you leave on such and such a day? One of the women went on vacation with her mother. He gave them $1,000 to fly out. That’s not somebody being held against their will.”
On Thursday a judge dismissed a number of charges against Mr Roberts but a grand jury chose to indict him the following day.
He faces trafficking, false imprisonment and firearms charges, and a total of 205 years behind bars if convicted. Police said he called the women, aged from 19 to 22, his “diamond kitties” and made them get gang tattoos.
One of the women told a 911 emergency operator: “I’m in a really bad situation and I need to get out. I was planning on leaving today.” Her “boss” threatened to kill her, the 20-year-old added.