Somorie Moses — who admitted to dismembering Leondra Foster in 2017, but claimed he did not murder her and was sentenced to eight years in prison by a Brooklyn Supreme Court— is being charged with murdering Foster and sex trafficking of eight women, according to documents unsealed on Tuesday. It is believed to be the first use of the federal statute criminalizing murder in the course of sex trafficking, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Per the indictment, Moses allegedly forced women and girls, including minors, into prostitution from as early as 2003 in Brooklyn and Queens, New York. He is accused of using violence and psychological manipulation to coerce his victims (all listed as Jane Does) by first promising love and marriage to begin a sexual relationship with the victim and later forcing them into prostitution and giving him the money earned. According to documents obtained by Rolling Stone, Moses allegedly brutally beat, raped, tortured, and otherwise threatened his victims.
The horrors of Moses’ alleged acts are numerous and gruesome. When one woman refused to engage in prostitution, he allegedly tasered her until she acquiesced. In another case, he slashed a victim with a razor, beat her with a belt, and poured lemon juice in the open wounds, permanently scarring her. According to the documents, he allegedly beat another victim with an extension cord and threatened to rub salt in the wounds. He is also alleged to have forced a shotgun into a victim’s mouth who refused to work as a prostitute, threatening to kill her and her child.
Around Jan. 12 and Jan. 13, 2017, Moses is accused of murdering Foster by beating her to death. At some point in that timeframe, he allegedly used a knife and a saw to dismember Foster in the apartment they shared in Brooklyn. Moses is then accused of disposing of Foster’s torso and limbs in the Bronx at a sanitation site on Jan. 17, 2017. According to the documents, law enforcement subsequently found Foster’s head, hands, and feet in a deep freezer inside Moses’ apartment.
In 2019, Moses was found guilty of negligent homicide and concealing a corpse in Foster’s death, but he was acquitted on the second-degree murder charge. But in the newly unsealed federal 10-count indictment, Count 10 specifies Moses “did knowingly and intentionally murder an individual, in that the defendant, with malice aforethought, did unlawfully kill Leondra Foster.”
According to a statement from the U.S. Justice Department, the investigation into Moses is ongoing. On Tuesday, Breon Peace, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, submitted a motion for a permanent order of detention of Moses, who is currently eligible for parole as early as Wednesday on the 2019 conviction. If convicted on the new murder charge, Moses faces life in prison and is eligible for the death penalty.
“Sex trafficking is a modern form of slavery that uses violence and fear to force vulnerable individuals to work for someone else’s profit, in this case resulting in the alleged brutal murder of one of the victims,” Peace said in a statement. “This Office will continue to prioritize investigation and prosecution of these heinous crimes. I thank the victims for their bravery in coming forward to report the defendant’s crimes and hope that this prosecution will help bring them and Ms. Foster’s family closure.”
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