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Brooklyn man charged with murder and sex trafficking

He allegedly stored victim’s head in freezer

May 24, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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Somorie Moses, also known as “Somorie Barfield,” “Sugar Bear,” “Bear” and “Daddy,” was charged Tuesday in Brooklyn Federal Court with the 2017 murder of one woman, Leondra Foster, and with sex trafficking eight women. 

This indictment is believed to be the first use of the federal statute criminalizing murder in the course of sex trafficking. Moses was arraigned before United States Magistrate Judge Robert M. Levy. He was represented in court by attorney Carla Sanderson.

According to the indictment, since at least 2003, Moses allegedly forced women and girls, including minors, into prostitution for his benefit using violence, threats of violence and psychological manipulation. 

After meeting his victims, Moses used false promises of love and marriage to initiate sexual relationships with them before demanding that they work as prostitutes and to turn over the money they earned to him. 

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Moses allegedly used brutal beatings, rape, torture, and threats to coerce his victims to work in prostitution in Brooklyn and Queens and to comply with his orders. He also pressured many of his victims into getting his first name, “Somorie,” tattooed on their bodies. 

As alleged, Moses used extreme violence to force his victims to work in prostitution for his benefit. For example, when one victim refused to engage in prostitution, Moses used a taser against her until she complied. 

On another occasion, Moses slashed a victim’s arms and back with a razor and beat her with a belt before pouring lemon juice on her wounds, leaving her permanently scarred. 

U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert M. Levy, EDNY. Eagle file photo by Rob Abruzzese

When another victim did not do as Moses ordered, he beat her with an extension cord and threatened to rub salt in her wounds. When another victim told Moses she did not want to work as a prostitute, he put a shotgun in her mouth and threatened to kill her and her child. 

In the early morning hours of Jan. 13, 2017, Moses allegedly murdered Leondra Foster, one of his many sex trafficking victims, by beating her until she died. The following morning, using a knife and a saw, Moses dismembered her body inside their shared apartment in Brooklyn, New York. 

Four days later, on the morning of Jan. 17, 2017, Moses allegedly brought Foster’s torso and limbs to the Bronx for disposal at a sanitation site. Foster’s head, hands and feet — including a foot with the name “Somorie” tattooed on it — were subsequently recovered by law enforcement inside the deep freezer of Moses’s apartment.

Breon Peace, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; Michael J. Driscoll, Assistant Director-in-Charge, FBI, New York Field Office; and Keechant L. Sewell, commissioner, NYPD, announced the charges. 

U.S. Attorney Breon Peace, EDNY. Photo courtesy of U.S. Justice Dept.

“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,” stated United States Attorney Peace. “This office will continue to prioritize investigation and prosecution of these heinous crimes.” 

“Words do not adequately convey the depravity of the long list of actions Moses allegedly took to torment and terrorize women so he could traffic them for money,” said FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Driscoll. “He’s accused of storing a woman’s head in his freezer after he killed her. Imagine how hard it is for his victims to come forward — but they have and should be commended for their bravery.” 

“The NYPD is committed to protecting the survivors of sex trafficking and holding fully accountable anyone who would seek to profit through the abuse and exploitation of another human being,” said NYPD Commissioner Sewell. “The level of depravity allegedly shown in this case is truly beyond the pale.” 

If convicted of the murder charge, Moses faces life imprisonment and is eligible for the death penalty.

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